Dynamite? TNT? LA Rams OLB Byron Young may be explosive on defense this year

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

Ah yes, the feel of LA Rams football is returning, and the thrill of LA Rams football is building once more. If you pride yourself on being a Doubting Thomas, on being the type of person habitually rains on the parades of others, I am giving you fair advance notice that the governor is not in place on optimism for this article. For one, I'm taking the positive spin from another article and adding a bit of my own flourish.

The reason for this giddiness is that we finally have the chance to talk about the LA Rams defensive front in the manner that it was meant to be discussed. What that means is that I am citing the Aaron Donald Effect, that ability of Aaron Donald to not only get after opposing quarterbacks, but to enhance the ability of his teammates to do so.

When the LA Rams parted ways with veterans Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd, the team also lost 15 QB sacks. Throw in the loss of other key defensive starters, and the Rams start the 2023 NFL season 23 QB sacks shy from their 2022 NFL season total of 38, which was not a particularly impressive total to begin with.

Byron Young: LA Rams most dangerous new addition

The Rams drafted Tennessee OLB Byron Young to help offset that pass rush deficit. While he won't be expected to make up the difference all on his own, it is hoped that he can combine with a fully healthy Aaron Donald (who had 5 QB sacks in 2022) to threaten quarterbacks once more.

It was that hope that served as the catalyst for Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox, as he typed out his latest Every NFL Team's Most Dangerous New Addition in 2023. When discussing the LA Rams, Knox wrote the following about Rams rookie edge rusher, Byron Young.

"Byron Young is an exceptional athlete, and that really shows up when he's a pass-rusher. He's fast off the ball and can win around the edge in a handful of ways. He's also effective in line games with his quickness, change-of-direction ability, and acceleration."

The 6-foot-2 250-pound outside linebacker out of Tennessee may be a rookie for the LA Rams, but he brings a college career of solid production. Now, in the aura of the Aaron Donald effect, Byron Young could be that wild-card factor for the Rams defense that truly does run wild. That is not too optimistic, is it?

Well, if you need one foot firmly planted on the ground, I will wrap this up with a bit less optimism from Kristopher Knox in that same article:

"After purging a large chunk of the roster the Rams might not be particularly good this season. However, the tandem of Donald and Young will at least give some teeth to the pass rush."

I am excited to see what Young can do coming off the edge this year. And just think, before the 2020 NFL season, there was a tremendous amount of concern over the LA Rams 'who are they?" running backs, who then went out and rushed for over 2000 yards that year. Perhaps this 'who are they?" group of edge rushers can bring a similarly impressive season to the Rams pass rush in 2023.

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Stay tuned. This is starting to get very interesting.