Ranking Rams’ biggest NFL draft gems of the last decade

Some believe that the LA Rams draft class from the 2024 NFL Draft may be the most important rookie class of GM Les Snead's career. But these Rams have found plenty of draft gems over the last decade.

Los Angeles Rams Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams Les Snead / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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X - Best pass rusher of his rookie class

When the LA Rams selected an undervalued edge rusher from Tennessee named Byron Young, there was not a lot of fanfare that accompanied his selection. On many draft boards, he was viewed as too old, too mature, and too short to make much of a difference in the NFL. And yet, the 77th player selected from the 2023 NFL Draft was more than up to the challenge of the NFL.

In terms of the NFL Draft Big Board, Byron Young was projected as the 13th-best edge rusher from the 2023 NFL Draft class. In terms of rookies selected, he was also the 13 outside linebacker selected off the board, in Round 3 by the LA Rams. The first edge rusher taken off the board was Will Anderson Jr., selected by the Houston Texans with the third overall pick. Anderson put up 45 tackles, 7.0 quarterback sacks, and 22 quarterback hits.

In sharp contrast, Young who was selected 74 picks later, put up 61 tackles, 8.0 quarterback sacks, and 19 quarterback hits. By almost every measured statistic, Young was the superior player. And yet it was Will Anderson Jr. who was bestowed the honor of NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

It was almost as though the same persons who projected Will Anderson Jr. to be the best edge rusher in the rookie class of 2023 could not allow Byron Young to be better and prove them wrong. Still, a rookie edge rusher who leads his entire rookie class in quarterback sacks from his position is certainly somebody who deserves to make this list. But we are just getting started.