Rams got an incredible steal in OLB Byron Young
Now, let's interpret the data.
2023 * indicates a partial season. Projection LA Rams OLB Byron Young stats over a full season, you get 75 tackles and 10.0 QB sacks. In short, the early performance of Rams rookie pass rusher Byron Young is tracking most closely to the Denver Broncos rookie season of star pass rusher Bradley Chubb.
If you recall, Chubb broke into the NFL playing on the opposite side of veteran pass rusher Von Miller, and likely benefitted a great deal from the majority of attention directed away from him in that incredible rookie season. In just nine games and eight starts, Byron Young's numbers already dwarf many of the top-selected pass rushers of the past seven years. If you ended his season today, Young would rank 8 out of 22 against the top selected pass rushers of the past seven NFL Drafts.
OLB Byron Young is the best pass rusher in the rookie class of 2023
Even optimistic projections for a Round 3 rookie pass rusher peaked at 4.0 quarterback sacks and 35 tackles. Young has blown past that with half of the 2023 NFL season left to go. Even against the best NFL veteran pass rushers, Young is holding his own. He is currently tied for the 26th most proficient pass rusher in all of the NFL, and as a rookie
The reason that the NFL does not plaster Byron Young's face and name across the headlines is the simple fact that he was not chosen on Day 1. If Will Anderson Jr. or Tyree Wilson boasted Young's numbers, their names would be discussed weekly for the NFL DROY honors.
2023 was about the journey for LA Rams fans, and the stars who would emerge and shine for the team along the way. Forget the latest wave of data that suggests that Rams OLB Byron Young cannot defeat double teams. No rookie pass rusher excels at that skill in their first NFL season. The bottom line that fans should focus on is: Can Byron Young get to the quarterback?
The answer to that question is yes, better than any other rookie in the rookie class of 2023. When he no long can, that is when you look at other data points to understand why.