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The Rams rookie who is peaking just in time for a playoff push

Kobie Turner could play a big factor in helping the Rams sneak into the postseason

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

The early indications on the 2023 NFL Draft for the Los Angeles Rams were promising, but with each passing week this crop seems to get more impressive for Les Snead and Sean McVay.

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.

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:

Week 15 vs Washington Commanders

Week 16 vs New Orleans Saints

Week 17 at New York Giants