The Los Angeles Rams had a loaded day three of the 2023 NFL draft by making 11 more picks. But they pulled out a steal with one of their selections.
At No. 182 overall in the sixth round, the Rams snatched highly touted cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson of Texas Christian. Hodges-Tomlinson, the nephew of NFL legendary running back LaDanian Tomlinson, had drawn significant praise by scouts for his ball skills and feisty demeanor despite his diminutive 5-foot-7 frame. Hodges-Tomlinson didn’t take long to send out a stirring message to the “Rams House.”
“I’m gonna make sure that this pick right here is gonna be one of the greatest picks they ever had. I’m gonna continue to show others why they shouldn’t have passed up on me,” Hodges-Tomlinson told the L.A. media after being picked (h/t Greg Beacham of the Associated Press).
Hodges-Tomlinson wasn’t through sounding off with the bold predictions. He took to social media for this one:
“I can’t explain the feeling, but I know this will be something great in the making. So let’s get to work and make this a great one!” Hodges-Tomlinson posted on his Twitter, which was directed toward the Rams.
Rams Getting Award-Winning DB
To further back the claim of Hodges-Tomlinson winning fans over despite his size, he’s coming to the league with a decorated resume.
For starters, he’s the 2022 Jim Thorpe Award winner which honors the nation’s best defensive back in college football. And twice, he led the Big 12 in pass breakups — and he did it facing a bevy of pass-happy offenses on Saturdays.
There’s more. Per ESPN Stats and Info (h/t Sarah Barshop of ESPN), Hodges-Tomlinson held opposing quarterbacks to a low 26% completion percentage when they targeted him. He also surrendered just 3.7 yards per passing attempt (fourth fewest in the Football Bowl Subdivision).
Fans who watched TCU football likely saw the sight of No. 1 being gnat-like toward receivers. He constantly fought for the football while showing rapid-fire feet and displayed the closing speed to erase short to intermediate passes. His defensive play became noticeable each week as the Horned Frogs were putting together a surprise run to the national championship game.
Analyst Compares Him to Past Rams Star
Draft analyst for NFL.com Daniel Jeremiah is one raving about the selection. He even compared the newest Ram to a past L.A. star.
“Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson plays 100 mph at all times. An aggressive tackler who has similar traits to former Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman,” Jeremiah tweeted.
Robey-Coleman was one of the original free agent signings during the early portion of the Sean McVay regime in L.A. The nickelback delivered 20 career pass deflections and three picks during his three seasons with the Rams from 2017 to 2019.
Before being selected, NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein was one who lauded the Horned Frog’s “aggression and explosiveness” on the field.
“Hodges-Tomlinson possesses the athletic profile and ball production to become a starting nickel back. He uses aggression and explosiveness to help overcome his size deficiency. He’s twitchy and sudden to press and hound receivers underneath,” Zierlein wrote. “However, he needs to trust his technique instead of defaulting to excessive crowding and hand-fighting that turns into penalties. He’s fully accepting of his run-support responsibilities and is generally solid in that area. Hodges-Tomlinson will face occasional size mismatches, but he’s more than capable of holding his own over the course of a season.”
The Rams delivered a day three coup by swooping up the TCU star. Now, Hodges-Tomlinson is already showing the confidence desired from Ram fans — and aims to turn the number 182 into a significant number for the franchise.