Could third time be the charm for Rams OLB Byron Young?

NFL Combine Byron Young
NFL Combine Byron Young / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

If you are hanging onto the fact that the LA Rams have invested a lot of draft capital into their outside linebacker position with nothing to show for it, you may not be willing to change that opinion. But for the LA Rams who made that investment, there was a clear understanding that developing productive pass rushers from the 2023 rookie draft class.

Right now, the LA Rams' most likely starters at the outside linebacker position from the results of the first two preseason games appear to be veteran outside linebacker Michael Hoecht, who cross-trained to the outside linebacker role midway through the 2022 NFL season, and second-year outside linebacker Keir Thomas, who showed signs of being productive last season, and picked right up where he left off in preseason this year.

So where does that leave rookie outside linebacker Byron Young? Very hungry, and looking to change his fortunes.

Third time could be the charm for Byron Young

The LA Rams have not played rookie OLB Byron Young very much in preseason games, and as a result, he has just one tackle and no quarterback sacks so far in preseason. But while fans may not have much to go on to showcase Byron Young's growth so far, the LA Rams coaches certainly have. And we occasionally catch a glimpse of his development with glowing reports out of practices.

On the second day of joint practices with the Denver Broncos, Young's name was mentioned twice. The first time referenced great pass coverage in the flat against Broncos RB Javonte Williams. The second time cited pressure on Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson that forced him to settle for a dump-off pass to RB Javonte Williams.

While neither play resulted in a quarterback sack, both plays demonstrate a very positive trend for Young. Either he is getting faster already, or the game is slowing down for him. Or best of all, perhaps both.

Rookies do not warm up in the NFL like spring time temperatures. It's more akin to a light switch, where everything seems to be dark and fumbling until the light switch goes on. I think that light switch is about to go on for Byron Young.

Could third time be the charm for Rams OLB Byron Young? Will he see playing time and make a statement in the LA Rams third and final preseason game against the Denver Broncos? Whether or not he does so may not be the most important factor right now. Rather, he is starting to show up in post-practice recaps in a positive way.

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It won't be long before quarterback sacks start to show up in the box scores next to his name.