Revisiting his 2023 draft selection leaves Rams rising star emotional

Los Angeles Rams Kobie Turner, Ernest Jones, Byron Young
Los Angeles Rams Kobie Turner, Ernest Jones, Byron Young / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

As fans of the LA Rams, we cannot know the thrill that rises in rookie prospects on draft day when the team calls out their name in an NFL Draft. We can guess that it's a special memory that will last throughout that player's lifetime, but we can only guess how special that event feels to the young man. After all, it's the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and discipline, and it all boils down to that lone event.

While we can only guess at who the LA Rams viewed as best in slot players with each pick, or even if the team was willing to sacrifice picks to trade up for earlier prospects, the team bobbed and weaved through the selections of the 2023 NFL Draft like heavyweight prizefighter Mohammed Ali.

And when the team stepped up to the podium to make their 77th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the consensus in their draft war room was that the time had come to select their pass rusher. But what I loved to hear out of LA Rams GM Les Snead as the team prepared to make that selection:

"He is going to work his . . . off"

Rams GM Les Snead

The sealed the debate. The pick was made. Tennessee OLB Byron Young was heading to play for the LA Rams.

Fans were mixed in their reception. So too were NFL pundits and draft analysts. OLB Byron Young was older than his colleagues, and his draft profiles cited a prospect who needed to develop a greater range of pass rush moves. And even his size at 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds became a question mark for the rookie.

But Rams GM Les Snead proved once more why he is among the top NFL GMs in the league. He looked at this young man's production and understood that his hunger and passion for the game of football were critical elements in the young man's career.

Ultimately, he would be the 13th edge rusher selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, but proved to be the best of the bunch. Ignore the popularity contest awards. Byron Young proved to be the best edge rusher in the 2023 rookie class.

But you can bet that he noticed that 76 players were selected in the draft before him. But ultimately, he joined the team that needed him most of all. And because the Rams entrusted him, he played with a passion on the football field that propelled him to become the best of his class.

And it's that same passion that will give him an edge to perform at an elite level this season as well.

Thanks for reading.