The LA Rams reset their entire outside linebacker group, shedding all but first-year players in the 2022 NFL season. Then, in preparation for 2023, the Rams reset the group again, sticking with a group of rookies to pair up with DT turned OLB Michael Hoecht to pursue and harass opposing quarterbacks.
But the Rams' front office had a plan for the position, and that plan started with drafting OLB Byron Young, While many teams looked the other way due to Young's age, (He is 25 years old), the LA Rams looked past his age to see the type of production that will only get better with each passing game.
Byron Young is becoming a dominating presence on the Rams defense with 3.0 quarterback sacks in just his first six NFL games. By all accounts, that is just the tip of the iceberg. He will continue to improve with each game. But his best performances will begin during his sophomore season.
Byron Young continues to look better and better
How did he look in the sixth game of his NFL career? He is starting to show up on radar for many NFL analysts now:
So how about what he looked like in the game? Here is just one of his many pressures, one in which he showcases his amazing speed and agility in applying the pressure to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs:
But how can I be so certain that Young will continue to improve? Simple, because that is how the development track has fallen for rookie edge rushers for many years. To prove my point, Let's compare the rookie seasons of Detroit Lions' 2022 season for rookie OLB Aidan Hutchinson to LA Rams' season for rookie OLB Byron Young
After six games in his rookie season, Aidan Hutchinson had 4.5 QB sacks, 17 tackles, and nine quarterback pressures. After six games this season, Byron Young has 3.0 QB sacks, 24 tackles, and 11 quarterback pressures.
Just to refresh everyone's memory, the Detroit Lions selected Aiden Hutchinson with the second overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Compare that to the fact that the LA Rams were able to select OLB Byron Young with the 77th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. So far, his rookie season is every bit comparable to Hutchison's, so the belief that Young will improve is founded.
For comparison purposes, Aidan Hutchinson ended his rookie season with 9.5 QB sacks and 52 tackles. I don't believe that it is outlandish to project Byron Young's rookie totals to fall on or about those numbers.
The Rams needed to find and select a rookie edge rusher who could contribute right out of the blocks. And so far, Byron Young is doing exactly that.