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Hey, the Rams have another flashy rookie corner, Decobie Durant, in training (camp)

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Los Angeles Rams defenseman Kobe Durant takes position during NFL football practice Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Rams rookie Dekoby Durant, also named Kobe, opened his eyes to the training camp. On Friday in training, he intercepted two passes. (Kewson Gong/Associated Press)

Smaller school, same big impression.

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Sheep selected cornerback Dekoby Durant in the fourth round from South Carolina State, HBCU program at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

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On Friday, Durant showed that there are more than one talented rookie cornerback at the start of training camp.

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Two days after being selected in the sixth round Named Kendrick after putting on a great game, Duran intercepted two passes when the Rams first practiced on the pads.

With thousands of fans showing up at UC Irvine for the Rams’ first public practice session, Duran fought off Matthew Stafford and John Woolford in team practice.

“Two really important games,” coach Sean McVeigh said.

The Super Bowl champion Rams selected four defensemen from a selection of eight with an eye to the future: Durant; Kendrick, who played in Clemson and Georgia; and the safety of Quentin Lake (UCLA) and Russ Yeast (Louisville and Kansas).

Durant – “everyone called me just Kobe as a kid,” he said in an interview this week – is fighting for a spot in an all-star full-back rotation. Jalen Ramseyveterans Troy Hill and David Long; and second-year professional Robert Rochell.

“I’m just really listening to veterans,” Durant said, “so when my time comes, I’ll be ready.”

At 5’11” and 180 pounds, Durant intercepted 12 passes in four seasons at college. Last season, Durant raised his draft profile with the Rams when he intercepted two passes in a 49-3 loss to the strong Clemson, which McVeigh alluded to on Friday.

Durant was the first player to be drafted from South Carolina State since 2018, when linebacker Darius Leonard was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. Duran said that although he did not play with Leonard, the three-time All-Pro inspired him.

Rams cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey (5), Troy Hill (2) and Caesar Dancy-Williams gather on the touchline during practice.
Rams cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey (5), Troy Hill (2) and Caesar Dancy-Williams gather on the touchline during practice. Ramsey and Hill will probably start. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

“A big thank you to him for paving the way,” Durant said.

Now, Durant said he’s comfortable leading his former college teammates.

“It’s different when you’re actually playing someone who has a chance to go to the NFL,” he said, adding, “My teammates…they feel knowing they’ve played me and seeing me now in the NFL, on the field, it gives them hope.

“They always ask me questions. They are proud of me and also want to be in this place. This makes them even more troublesome.”

Arriving at Rams team events in the spring, Durant plunged into the game.

Safe Jordan Fuller said he was impressed early on by Duran and the cornerback’s game continues to grow.

“I knew he had a special talent and I knew what he was capable of,” Fuller said Friday. “He doesn’t even think about who he could be.”

Durant has played in a hybrid all-star position, which requires skill at inside and outside cornerback.

Ramsey, a three-time All-Pro, has changed positions, but other cornerbacks are gearing up for the role.

“There are a lot of nuances we demand from this ‘star’ position, and he’s getting more comfortable with each passing day,” McVeigh said of Durant.

McVeigh does not play with starters or other key veteran players during preseason games. So Durant looks set to have plenty of opportunity against the Chargers, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals as the Rams prepare for their first game on September 8 against the Buffalo Bills at Sophie Stadium.

Duran said that he, Kendrick and other young quarterbacks compete to make each other better.

“I’m just making the most of it by talking to veterans,” Durant said, “and when it’s time for preseason games, all the rookies will be on the field and we’ll be ready to play. ”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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