Imagine the thrill of finding the most adept rookie in a talented class of 2023 who can lead the team, and the entire rookie class, late in Round 3 with the 89th overall pick? That is why the LA Rams are so excited to see what that shocking rookie can do in 2024.
But he faced so much pressure to produce. After all, the team could not swing and miss with him. Thankfully, the front office did not.
The LA Rams needed to find a Day 1 starter for their defensive line somewhere in the 2023 NFL Draft. The coffers were bare. Because the team pushed salary expenses into the future, the Rams were unable to make any contract offers to extend NT Greg Gaines or DE A'Shawn Robinson. That meant that the 2023 defensive linemen room would have some empty chairs as the team prepared for a new season. Even as the team turned to young players like Bobby Brown III and Jonah Williams to assume greater roles in 2024, the team needed more horses for the stable.
When the team selected Wake Forest nose tackle Kobie Turner with the 89th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the hope was to add a rotational player who could give his teammates a breather, and perhaps put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The team discovered that Kobie Turner, a.k.a. The Conductor, planned to deliver so much more.
His first year in the NFL was mind-blowing for a nose tackle. Regardless of how he got there, did you believe he could match All-Pro DL Aaron Donald's rookie QB sack totals? (9.0 sacks in his first year). Now the question is, can he springboard from his impressive rookie season to lead the defense in QB sacks in 2024? After all, in comparison to Aaron Donald, can he put up 11.0 quarterback sacks in Year 2?
Why that many? Or why even more that that? In all likelihood, the number will need to be at least that many. WIth the Rams new defensive coordinator being Chris Shula, there is clearly a focus on pass rush in 2024. And with a greater emphasis, that means a greater level of competition. Not only will 'The Conductor' face stiff competition from veteran All-Pro DL Aaron Donald, but he will also be challenged by OLBs Byron Young and perhaps a returning Michael Hoecht, Nick Hampton, Ochaun Mathis, or even Zack VanValkenburg.
It will take at least 11.0+ to lead the team in quarterback sacks in 2024. The Rams have too many young rising stars on defense who can deliver quarterback pressure. In a rising tide ot defenders converging on opposing hurlers, can a nose tackle keep pace?