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Rams finally finish signing rookie class, also add a tight end

Kobie Turner and Byron Young come to terms, L.A. adds ex-CFL player Nikola Kalinic

NFL: MAY 23 Los Angeles Rams OTA
Byron Young signs his contract and becomes a millionaire
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams are one of the last teams to complete signing their rookie class, but they got the job done on Friday by finally inking deals with third round edge Byron Young and third round defensive tackle Kobie Turner. In addition, the Rams signed a third player, tight end Nikola Kalinic, a former Canadian Football League player who had recently been with the Indianapolis Colts.

Turner, who is known as “The Conductor”, was selected 89th overall out of Wake Forest. Some fans questioned his draft status, but he was named a draft riser by Pro Football Focus after they gave him a 92.2 score, good for second-best in the FBS in his final college season. While Turner is relatively small for the interior defensive line at 6’2” 288 lbs, his 4.49 shuttle and 7.08 three-cone reveal stellar agility and short area quickness. He is also known for his hand-fighting skills.

The 2023 draft saw the the Rams triple-dip at the edge position, as improving their pass rush was clearly a priority. At 77th overall, L.A. took Byron Young out of Tennessee, a SEC standout with plus speed and explosion. He also has a great backstory, walking on to a junior college program 18 months after high school to get his chance and eventually becoming All-SEC first team. Although his overall game is still raw for his age, 25, Young plays with a non-stop motor and owns a great first step.

Kilinic spent last season with the Indianapolis Colts, he was let go in final cuts and was signed to the practice squad. The 6’4” 253 lb. tight end logged time on special teams as well and in December, got a promotion to the active roster garnering seven games with two starts of NFL experience. His only recorded stat was one kickoff return for 15 yards. Before playing with the Colts, Kilinic played three seasons (2019-2021) with the Hamilton TigerCats of the Canadian football League. His CFL stats were a modest 23 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He added 36 yards on kickoff returns.

What are their prospects?

It would appear that Kilinic is a camp body. The Rams have four tight ends that should be considered ahead of him on the depth chart. Being optimistic, he could possibly carve out some kind of role as the blocking tight end since the unit is better-known as receivers rather than plus blockers. But his making the opening roster is a long shot.

Young and Turner are expected to battle for starting positions. In a perfect scenario, they would get to learn the pro game and rotate into the lineup behind veteran players, but this is path being taken. Seeing as many as six defensive rookies starting for the Rams this season should not be surprising.

Kilinic was added at the league minimum and the contracts of Young and Turner are set by their draft slot in the rookie salary pool. According to Over the Cap, Young’s package calls for total compensation of $5,555,238 over four years with a little over $1mil guaranteed. At #89, Turner’s four-year deal calls for $5,391,494 with $921,072 guaranteed.

These three moves bring the Rans roster to 87 players. After all the bookkeeping is done, L.A. will have $8 mil+ in cap space remaining, leaving Les Snead with money and 2024 draft capital for more moves. Surely something coming, the question is, “Will it be a blockbuster?”