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Could Kobie Turner be the perfect complement to Aaron Donald?

The Rams may have finally found their long term answer on the defensive line opposite of Aaron Donald

NFL: MAY 23 Los Angeles Rams OTA Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In 2022, the Los Angeles Rams ranked 22nd in overall defense according to Pro Football Focus. In addition to being in the bottom half of the league for total defense, they were second to last in sacks per including a league-low 66 pressures. That is 21 less pressures than the next closest team, the Chicago Bears, who had a bad enough season to garner the first overall pick in the draft.

Aaron Donald is still playing like a Hall of Famer, but it’s clear that he is in need of some help and rookie third round pick Kobie Turner could be the answer.

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2023 draft, Turner’s style of play is maybe best compared to Donald himself. They are similar in stature, Donald being 6’1, 284 lbs and Turner coming in slightly taller at 6’2, 290 lbs.

While undersized for a traditional defensive tackle, both rely more on their advantage of speed and leverage to get off blocks. That is not to say they are not strong though, as Turner was able to put up 31 reps of 225 lbs at his pro day, and if he had been invited to the NFL combine, that would have ranked in the top-5 for defensive linemen. Donald also had 35 reps, respectfully, at the NFL combine back in 2014. Both can be seen in their game tape walking offensive linemen backwards. So while they may be smaller, strength does not seem to be an issue for either.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Wake Forest at Louisville Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Turner has had some trouble disengaging with double teams in the past. However, with his combination of speed and power, he still managed 43.5 tackles for loss and a 93.1 run-defense grade with an 88.8 pass-rushing grade in his senior season at Wake Forest. It’s rare that single offensive lineman can stop him. This is where having an All-Pro like Aaron Donald is a luxury as he will take on most of the double teams, leaving Turner singled up to make what he does best a whole lot easier.

The buzz for Turner has also been heard coming out of training camp. To get an idea of how excited LA was to get him, look no further than their Youtube series, Behind The Grind episode 2. It shows how not just Les Snead and Sean McVay wanted the defensive lineman, but the entire defensive coaching staff.

“My favorite football player is Wake Forest. I just don’t know if this is where we pick him,” Snead said, followed by McVay “if you feel strongly about it, I’m (expletive) with you 100%” while adding “My thing is we’re gonna be (expletive) furious if we lose this (expletive) guy”.

When asked if there was a better player available at the time, defensive coordinator Raheem Morris responded “Not based on what we are going to use him for”, while defensive line coach Eric Henderson was seen celebrating the pick.

It’s clear the Rams have a plan and are confident in Turner’s abilities to execute it.

While I am in no way saying that Kobie Turner will become as great as the future Hall of Famer Donald, I do think he is in the perfect situation to bring out the absolute best in his skillset. He has even mentioned Donald as one of the players he studies the most. The sky is the limit for Turner and it will be exciting to see his growth over the next season and his career, if he’s able to take advantage of this rare opportunity to complement one of the greatest players of all-time.