Their first pick from this spring, guard Steve Avila, could be a foundational player on the offensive line for years to come. It’s been some time since OLB Byron Young has overwhelmed the opposing passing game, but he’s proven himself as a keeper and is penciled in as a starter moving forward. Puka Nacua, who was closer to the end of the last of the team’s selections than the first, is having a historic rookie season and should be considered a top 10-20 player at his position already. TE Davis Allen, picked in the sixth round, caught his first career touchdown this past weekend from Matthew Stafford and could play a big role in the near future with Tyler Higbee hobbled and Hunter Long now out for the remainder of the season. Even punter Ethan Evans has racked up special teams rookie of the week honors multiple times so far this year.
But perhaps the Rams rookie playing the best football of late is defensive tackle Kobie Turner, who Snead seemingly pounded the table for on draft day.
How can you not be excited about Kobie Turner when Les Snead talks about him like this?— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) July 15, 2023
Snead "stood on the table" for him in the draft room. That's what you want. pic.twitter.com/qrSky6D3fM
Turner is rewarding Snead for his confidence in the former Wake Forest product, and he’s been on a pass rushing tear over the last three weeks. This past weekend against the Baltimore Ravens Turner was LA’s highest graded player on defense in terms of Pro Football Focus (PFF)’s grading and tracking system:
Week 12 at Arizona Cardinals: five total pressures; two sacks
Week 13 vs Cleveland Browns: four total pressures; two sacks
Week 14 at Baltimore Ravens: five total pressures; no sacks
**PFF sack numbers won’t always match the official NFL box score because the league credits players with half sacks for sharing QB takedowns. It’s an approach that allows for double-entry book keeping so both players get credit but the defense isn’t awarded more statistical sacks than the number of times the quarterback was officially sacked. PFF awards full sacks in all cases.
Prior to Week 12 Turner had just 14 pressures. In his last three games he matched that number to move to 28 so far on the season. Aaron Donald leads Los Angeles with 70 total pressures. Fellow rookie Byron Young is next up at 39. Michael Hoecht and Turner have 29 and 28, respectively.
If the Rams somehow sneak into the playoffs—which at this point they are projected at a 37% likelihood—Turner would have played a key role in helping the Rams turn their season around. The next four games are key for LA, and it’s looking more and more possible that the San Francisco 49ers could lock up the one seed before Week 18 and rest their starters in that final contest. The NFC Playoff picture is taking shape.
The stars are seemingly aligning for the Rams to do the improbable, but they have to take care of business in their next three games against these teams: