ESPN Staff Writer
BOCA RATON, Fla. — The Los Angeles Rams have signed just two outside free agents since the new league year began on March 9. Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh and defensive end Quinton Coples came over in the second wave of free agency after the wild initial surge.
After spending their first four NFL seasons in the AFC, Coples and Sensabaugh aren’t exactly familiar for Rams fans. So with the AFC coaches all gathered in one place Tuesday morning for media availability, it seemed like a good time to check in with them on what, exactly, the Rams are getting with their newest additions.
The reviews were a bit mixed.
Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey noted Sensabaugh’s overall knowledge of the game as a benefit for the Rams.
“Coty is smart, very smart, diligent, he knows a lot of things that are going to happen before they happen,” Mularkey said. “He studies film much more than a lot of guys I have been around at that position. He can play inside in the nickel if needed, he’s a good blitzer, good cover guy and a really good person in the locker room.”
Sensabaugh figures to compete with E.J. Gaines for a starting job on the outside, and could factor into the mix in the nickel, where the Rams also have Lamarcus Joyner. But Mularkey said Sensabaugh is at his best in the slot.
“I think he’s probably more productive inside, yeah, I would say that,” Mularkey said. “But he can play outside, which is good to have a guy that versatile.”
As for Coples, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan is a little more unsure of where Coples is in his development. Ryan was the head coach of the New York Jets when they drafted Coples in the first round in 2012.
Coples never reached his potential or played up to that draft status for Ryan, but the Bills did have interest in Coples when the Jets released him last season.
“I have no idea,” Ryan said. “We’ll see. I think at one point I really thought the kid was going to take off. He had to battle through some injuries. I’m not sure, I haven’t really looked at Quinton. We knew we couldn’t afford him.”
Ryan cited Coples’ injury history as a determining factor in whether he will be able to help the Rams. Coples has dealt with elbow, shoulder and ankle ailments in his time in the league.
Ryan pointed to Coples’ versatility as a reason he could be OK in the Rams’ 4-3 scheme.
“He played a lot of that for us,” Ryan said. “He played outside, played defensive end, did a lot of different things when we had him with the Jets. Hopefully he is healthy. I think that’s the big thing. If he’s healthy, he’ll have a chance.”