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Friday, August 23, 2013
#NFLRank: No. 57 James Laurinaitis

By Nick Wagoner

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- It took four days before any Rams appeared on our #NFLRank project, which lists the top 100 NFL players on each side of the ball. This morning, the Rams added a third in a two-day span when linebacker James Laurinaitis made the cut.

Laurinaitis is No. 57 on the list of the league’s best defensive players according to the newest reveal, which shows players ranked No. 60 through 51.

On Thursday, offensive tackle Jake Long checked in at No. 61 on offense and cornerback Cortland Finnegan landed at No. 63 on defense.

Defense, No. 57 Laurinaitis

Stats & Info: Laurinaitis has 222 solo tackles over the past two seasons, most of any player in the league. Only 15 players even had 222 total tackles (including assists).

My take:  Laurinaitis was a day-one starter for the Rams and has become the team’s best at that position since London Fletcher departed way back in 2002. Although he may not be as flashy as some of the other high-profile middle linebackers in the league, Laurinaitis is the focal point of an emerging Rams defense and should only continue to improve as young defenders around him get better.