This rising Rams star popped 'em in Pop Warner years at 5 years old at MLB

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The arrival of NT/DT Kobie Turner feels like the start of a new chapter for the LA Rams defense. The young star tied the rookie record of All-Pro DL Aaron Donald, and then Donald retired. While the leader of the defense is undoubtedly ILB Ernest Jones, the horsepower of this group is definitely "The Conductor."

How can the guy who always seems to be having fun and smiling be the powerhouse needed to fuel this defense back to a Top 10 standing? It's the fact that he is smiling that is your first clue. Turner is not on a football field for big paydays and theatric performances. He loves the game of football, and has loved it from an early age.

Need proof? Just check out the social media item shared by his father. He was styling and profiling a football uniform at the ripe ole' age of five years old. That set the stage for the young man with the 89th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft to be selected by the LA Rams.

In just his first year in the NFL, Kobie Turner outhustled, outpowered, and outplayed all other defensive rookies. He wasn't awarded the honor of Defensive Rookie of the Year because he was not drafted in Round 1. However, he was not drafted in Round 1 because teams viewed him as undersized to be effective in the NFL.


Much like the draft profile of Aaron Donald some 10 years earlier, scouts and analysts raised questions over Turner's height of 6-foot-2 (not 6-foot-3 or higher) and weight of 288 pounds (not 300+ pounds). It was his height and weight that prevented him from hearing his name in Round 1, because teams did not believe that he would excel in the NFL.

When he did excel, they did not acknowledge his achievements because he did not get drafted early. That is a circular argument and one that frustrates me even to this day.

Still, great things lie ahead for Turner. Don't believe me if you choose, but don't make the mistake of disbelieving NFL Insider and analyst Brian Baldinger, who believes Turner will break out in Year 2. Turner put up 9.0 quarterback sacks in 2023 despite being double-teamed 71 percent of the time. Now, sliding over to Aaron Donald's vacated spot, he could put up 13.0+ or more quarterback sacks, simply on more defensive snaps alone.

Kobie Turner has known and loved the game of football his entire life. In 2024, the NFL will see how well he plays the game.