LA Rams rookies show up when the team needs them most

Has there ever been a more accomplished rookie class in NFL history? The LA Rams needed rookies to play well in 2023. But it's clear that the Rams roster gets more from the rookies than 'playing well.'

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants, Puka Nacua, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants, Puka Nacua, Sean McVay / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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Rams rookies taking over quickly

By Week 6, the LA Rams had climbed to a 3-3 record. But the Rams had an undeniably difficult schedule in facing some of the best teams in the NFL. Even against tough competition, the Rams were not intimidated, were not outclassed of outmanned. Even in losses, the Rams could point to a key penalty or turnover and know that, if corrected, the game's outcome would be different.

All the while, Rams fans who paused to ponder about the future of the franchise knew that the LA Rams would get better over time. The Rams fell into a mid-season slump, losing three consecutive games before the Week 10 BYE. But even in losing, rookies on the Rams roster continued to shine.

New stars began to shine for the Rams. NT Kobie Turner proved to be more than a rotational player. He was able to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks from a nose tackle position. Meanwhile, OLB Byron Young, WR Puka Nacua, IOL Steve Avila, and even P Ethan Evans performed far better than their draft selection would have expected.

And they improved each week, just as we had claimed before the season ever started.

This could never have happened on the 2021 LA Rams roster. There simply were no offensive or defensive snaps to share with hopeful rookies who wanted to contribute. Nor was there room to allow for rookies to show up and stand out in 2022. But the Rams planned for rookies to contribute in 2023. While the plan may have backfired, the risk was small. The Rams payroll was only two-thirds that of other NFL teams.

But then, something special happened in 2023.