Young Rams defense has a chance to set the record straight right out of the gate

Neither OLB Byron Young nor NT Kobie Turner won DROY honors in 2023. Now, they are back to set the record straight.
Aaron Donald, Kobie Turner, Byron Young, Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald, Kobie Turner, Byron Young, Los Angeles Rams / Harry How/GettyImages
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Setting the record straight

There are several fallacies about the Rams' young defense that have been whispered and discussed by NFL analysts that have infected some fans and caused concerns. So, let's hash it out and see if any of the worries or concerns hold water.

Fallacy 3: 'Aaron Donald effect' was only reason for Rams rookie success

While there is plenty of history of the 'Aaron Donald effect' catapulting veteran edge rushers like Dante Fowler Jr. and Leonard Floyd to an entirely higher level of quarterback sacks, I don't know that the same can be said of the Rams rookies in Byron Young and Kobie Turner. After all, ESPN analytics cited Kobie Turner as the most double-teamed defender in all of 2023, His rate of double-teams matched that of Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones.

While I am not stating that Aaron Donald was not the primary focus of offensive coordinators, quarterbacks, and offensive linemen in 2023, he was not the sole reason for the Rams effectiveness. The Rams had a bevy of defenders who were playing very well in 2023. And many of them are returning in 2024.

Fallacy 2: Rams failed to adequately address the pass rush this offseason

Even as many hoped the Rams might trade for or sign a veteran pass rusher in the off-season, the team rigidly adhered to their plan and waited to address the team's pass rush during the 2024 NFL Draft. In ten picks, the Rams added OLB Jared Verse, DT Braden Fiske, OLB Brennan Jackson, and DT Tyler Davis to a defense that already boasted OLB Byron Young, DT Kobie Turner, OLB Michael Hoecht, and DT Bobby Brown III.

Glancing away from the other depth players who could show up and surprise folks this season, it is not going out on a limb to suggest that the team doubled their production for the upcoming 2024 NFL season by bringing in four rookies. The thing is, the team added two rookies in 2023 who generated 17.0 QB sacks and 118 tackles. Should we expect less from the 2024 rookie quartet?

An effective pass rush is more than slapping some guys into pads and jerseys, sending them onto the football field, and directing them to tackle the opposing quarterback. It takes coordination, cooperation, and most of all, chemistry, to choreograph attacks from unexpected directions and angles. The Rams hit the jackpot in 2023 in Byron Young and Kobie Turner. Not only will they be back with a vengeance to surpass their outstanding 2023 stats, but they will be joined by four new rookies who have the same passion and grit this season.