2023 lessons allow Rams to gauge the price of success, riling up analysts

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / John McCoy/GettyImages
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Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

The LA Rams have all the confidence in the world about their draft board, and they have every right to exude that confidence. Without a pick in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the team emerged with the equivalent of four first-round rookies. Ultimately, the value of any player has nothing to do with where they are selected in the draft, but what they contribute to the team.

Now here comes the fun part of this article.

Imagine the gotcha opportunities the team would have had if they had traded up in Round 2 for OLB Byron Young, or for NT Kobie Turner? As it was, the draft analysts were not all too kind about the team's rookie class of 2023, simply because they viewed players chosen by the team to hold lesser value than other options that were still on the draft board.

Fast-tracking rookie learning curve

What is the value of the Verse/Fiske chemistry in this defense? That is a topic worth discussing now. After all, we know that OLB Jared Verse and DT Braden Fiske have an incredibly coordinated and cohesive wave of destruction and outright obliteration that they perfected by competing as teammates on the Florida State Seminoles defense.

Even as the Rams will be instructing all rookies in individual drills and techniques, the bonus of having Verse and Fiske on the roster will start to show up as soon as this defense starts to drill against the offense. We should see signs of that violet chemical reaction when the team begins to compete in preseason games.

The Rams learned lessons from the 2023 rookie class. The team took note of the bond between OLB Byron Young and NT Kobie Turner, and how that close friendship became a friendly competition. It was that friendly rivalry throughout the season that elevated the performance of both rookies to the pinnacle of success on the defensive side of the football.

Now the team is harnessing that close friendship deliberately. Iron sharpens iron. But it needn't be exclusively defensive lineman versus offensive lineman. It can be teammate vs. teammate at practically any position.

I see that the Rams are onto something here, and it may take some time before other NFL teams and draft analysts catch on to this new and provocative tactic. The Rams have not added two players to this roster. Rather, the Rams have literally cut a significant component to the Seminoles' success on defense and grafted it into their own defense. Will it sprout in 2024?

Yes. Yes it will.

Thanks for reading.