LA Rams ILB Kenny Young may be as good as advertised, after all

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LA Rams ILB Kenny Young may be as good as advertised, after nearly a year of sitting on the shelf

The LA Rams traded away their disappointing cornerback Marcus Peters in 2019 to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth-round draft pick and a young and promising inside linebacker Kenny Young. For months, the only post-trade analyses of that exchange have cited just what a steal the Ravens got in a Pro-Bowl cornerback in Peters, and just how little value they surrendered to get him.  One fifth-round draft pick? And a player who until the 2020 season had been exclusively a special teams player.

A day three pick and a special teams player certainly does have bargain-basement price written all over it when taken in the context that the Ravens filled a huge need in their secondary. But to be fair, Peters’ style of play was incompatible with the Ravens. He was not only compatible with the Ravens’ style of play, he flourished there. In fact, he helped those Ravens earn a playoff berth in 2019, and likely will help them earn a playoff spot again this year.

Rams reboot boot

If only the Rams had gotten a starting player out of the exchange. Well, hold that thought for just a minute.  The Rams did trade a fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for their offensive lineman Austin Corbett. He was pushed into a starting role in 2019, and he is the starting right guard this year.  So far, he is one of the better starting guards in the NFL.

But even a starting offensive guard. If only the Rams had gotten another starter in the deal. If only Kenny Young had panned out as a starting inside linebacker. Well, that wish may be coming true in 2020.  So far, Young has played 83 of 143 defensive snaps. And of that number, he has been involved in nine tackles, one quarterback hit, and a fumble recovery.  While his Pro Football Focus grade is merely 54.1 after two games, he scores higher than teammate Micah Kiser’s 49.9 grade over the same two games.

Rams LB package Kiser and Young

Young is pulled from the field when the Rams go with a nickel or dime sub-package. Even so, he is getting work on about 58 percent of the defensive snaps. Week two was a much better performance for both Kiser and Young.  Each week, the two LA Rams linebackers are becoming that much more familiar with one another, and the speed of the NFL overall.

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The Rams linebacker duo of Micah Kiser and Kenny Young are young but learning. They are raw but gaining precious experience with each new NFL game. While Kenny Young is not a Pro-Bowl linebacker, he is filling the role on the Rams defense well enough to not attract unneeded worrying over the position. While the duo will have ups and downs, both linebackers will develop into solid overall starters this year. In the end, the deal that sent Peters to the Ravens may have been a win-win after all.