The Rams rookie draft class of 2023 is showing up in a huge way on defense. In fact, despite selecting the 12th pass rusher off the board, the Rams have landed am outside linebacker who truly checks all of the boxers. That's right, Rams rookie outside linebacker Byron Young is the stud pass rusher from the class of 2023 so far. So how good is he? Let's take a look:
While we have witnessed some debate over the LA Rams ability to draft successfully in recent years, it was clear that the Rams needed to hit big at their outside linebacker position. Thankfully, that is exactly what the LA Rams front office did. Even though the Rams did not address the position until later on Day 2, they emerged with a rookie who is arguably the best of the rookie class of 2023.
So let's compare how Byron Young compares to the 11 other edge rushers chosen in the 2023 NFL Draft before him:
Will Anderson Jr.
Will McDonald IV
That is proof right there that he is showing up better than any other rookie so far.
Best of 2023. What about 2022?
Okay, so far it appears at though the LA Rams have the cream of the crop from the 2023 NFL Draft class. But what about the best from 2022? The Detroit Lions landed DE/OLB Aidan Hutchinson in 2022. How well did Hutchinson do in his first three NFL games last season? Well in three games, he had put up the following stats:
- Name ------------| snaps | tackles | ---TFL --- | QB sacks | QB Pressures
- Hutchinson -----| 186 | 7.0 tackles | 3.0 TFLs | 3.0 QB sacks | 4.0 QB Pressures
- Young ---------- | 166 | 14.0 tackles | 0.0 TFLs | 2.0 QB sacks | 10.0 QB Pressures
I'm not asserting that LA Rams OLB Byron Young is going to finish this season with 9.5 QB sacks, but it's clear that Young is having a very comparable start in his rookie season to that of Lions standout pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson. Better yet, the Rams selected Byron Young with the 77th overall pick, and not the 2nd overall pick of the draft.
If you wanted the LA Rams to build a strong foundation for the 2024 NFL season and beyond, that is exactly what these LA Rams young stars are doing right now. This is more than just padding stats. The Rams young defenders are playing fundamentally sound football. It's that early attention to solid football basics that has this Rams defense quietly outperforming expectations.