In what is both a copycat league and a passing league, everyone seems to be looking for the next Earl Thomas.

“Because we’ve become a pass-first league, teams are looking more and more for that free safety that can cover, that has more range, that can possibly drop down and cover a slot without having to go to a nickel (back),” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.

After helping Seattle win the Super Bowl in dominating fashion over Denver, Thomas has taken his place as the best free safety in the NFL. Count the Rams among those teams that want a guy like that.

“You look at Earl Thomas, you look at the money the Saints paid Jairus Byrd (in free agency) – there’s a demand for that,” said former Rams draft pick Matt Bowen of the Bleacher Report.

Bowen knows better than most. Not only did he play safety in the NFL, he did so for new Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when both were with Washington.

“With Gregg’s defense, that free safety, they move him around a lot,” Bowen said. “They’re very creative. The free safety plays multiple roles. He’s playing the deep pass. He’s playing the deep middle. He’ll roll up to the line of scrimmage. But he’s a middle-of-the-field guy.”

Among other things, that means a free safety in Williams’ system ideally must have the range to cover seam routes to tight ends and provide help for cornerbacks defending post patterns to wide receivers.

“If you look at the other spot, the strong safety in Gregg’s defense has to blitz,” Bowen continued. “That’s what I played for Gregg in ’04 and ’05 with Washington. The first game of Gregg’s tenure in Washington, I think I blitzed nine or 10 times. In one game.”