LA Rams land Aaron Donald understudy at 89
By Bret Stuter
There was bound to be dissent on Day 2 of the LA Rams draft, as the team is under tremendous pressure to hit on virtually every player selected. The fact of the matter is that there is no science to the process of selecting rookie prospects to play in the NFL. But LA Rams see one side to the LA Rams roster and roster needs, a view that is 2-dimensional. Meanwhile, the LA Rams front office sees the Rams roster is three dimensions.
When the LA Rams used their 89th overall pick to select a 3-tech interior defensive lineman out of Wake Forest by the name of Kobie Turner, I was a bit startled. There were some coveted defensive backs still on the draft board, as well as tight ends, wide receivers, running backs, and even offensive linemen.
But the Rams has addressed the offensive line and the pass rush. The only spot left in the line of scrimmage was to add a defensive lineman, so that is just what the LA Rams did.
Draft analysts had DL Kobie Turner projected all over the place, from Round 3 to Round 5. But there is a consensus as to what he must overcome. This 6-foot-2 288-pound rookie defensive lineman is cited as too small and not powerful enough to compete in the NFL. Curiously, DL Aaron Donald is 6-foot-1 and weighs 285 pounds, and similar reservations were noted in his draft profile.
So what can we tell you about Kobie Turner? Well, he is not the most athletic rookie in the Rookie Class of 2023. But he was very productive through his college days.
If you like to hear a player analyze their performance, you are going to love this interview where Kobie Turner breaks down his play, and shares what he saw and what the offense was trying to do against him.
And while you may not be great with this pick, there are plenty of NFL Draft analysts who love what the Rams did at 89:
"Kobie Turner is a high-energy, wrecking ball who plays half a man as well as any interior DL in this class not named Calijah Kancey. His non-stop motor, slippery pass-rush moves and body control through blockers are all outstanding. His first-step quickness is there, and there's a quality twitch to his game. He simply needs to get stronger to add a bull-rush element to what he brings as a pass-rusher." - per CBS Sports Draft Tracker
Just some thoughts about selecting IDL Kobie Turner at 89. The LA Rams have ridden the tail off of DL Aaron Donald, and the 2022 NFL season proved that the gravy train and the "Aaron Donald effect," of elevating everyone's play on defense is something that the Rams front office is something that the team cannot bank on.
Kobie Turner is Aaron Donald's understudy, it's just that simple. In fact, an article from Pro Football Focus Michael Renner states: one of the most successful 3-techniques in the NFL is Aaron Donald. As the Rams add Kobie Turner for the next four seasons, the team has the insurance of getting a younger defensive lineman to learn from Aaron Donald this season.
The Rams need to plan for the future of this team, and by selecting IDL Kobie Turner, they may have taken their biggest step in that direction.