The Los Angeles Rams fell to the San Francisco 49ers, 30-23 on Sunday. While a ninth consecutive regular season loss to a division rival is disappointing, it’s still fair to feel pretty good about how the Rams competed for 60 minutes. The Rams have some things to work on, but there was plenty to be excited about as well. Here is this week’s stock up, stock down.
Stock Up: Byron Young
The Rams continue to get good production from their rookie class and Byron Young is a big part of that. He had three pressures and a sack against the 49ers on Sunday. The rookie edge rusher has eight pressures this season which ranks second among rookies behind only Jalen Carter. This leads Will Anderson of the Houston Texans who was drafted third overall.
Young has been a mild surprise for the Rams in the first two weeks and is continuing to learn. He’ll get better on the edge in his run defense, but over the first two games and on Sunday, Young has looked pretty good.
Stock Down: Van Jefferson
It’s hard not to see Van Jefferson slipped to fourth on the depth chart once Cooper Kupp returns from injury. Puka Nacua has solidified himself as part of the offense. In addition, TuTu Atwell has also looked really good and deserves to get more playing time.
Meanwhile Van Jefferson continues to miss blocking assignments, ran a poor route that led to a Matthew Stafford interception, and has disappeared on the field. He’s a good player to have as depth, but it’s hard to see a role for him once the Rams wide receiver room is back to full strength.
Stock Up: Puka Nacua
Nacua had 15 receptions for the Rams in Week 2 against the 49ers, setting a multitude of rookie records. He just continues to improve the more playing time that he gets. Nacua now has 25 receptions over two weeks which is also a rookie record.
When Kupp returns, Nacua will very likely be the second wide receiver in the Rams offense and play in the Robert Woods role. It’s very clear that the Rams like this player and have big plans for him. The rookie just needs to be able to stay healthy.
Stock Down: Michael Hoecht
How many more games of the Michael Hoecht experiment will we get before the Rams either trade for or start an actual edge rusher? Hoecht’s run defense was among the worst in the NFL at the edge rusher position in Week 2.
Hoecht can be a serviceable player on the inside where he’s comfortable. However, he just may not be an edge rusher and that’s ok as it isn’t his natural position. There won’t be many teams that can exploit the Rams on the edge like the 49ers, but it will certainly be a spot opposing teams continue to test.
Stock Up: Kobie Turner
A player that slid under the radar on Sunday was rookie defensive lineman, Kobie Turner. In Week 2 alone, Turner was the eighth-highest graded defensive lineman with at least 20 snaps and had the ninth-highest run defense grade. His 22.2 stop percentage was tied for second in the NFL.
I was impressed w/ rookie DT Kobie Turner vs. the 49ers— Mike Renner (@mikerenner_) September 19, 2023
Quite the butt-kicker for a 289-pound DT. Some shades of Grady Jarrett to his game pic.twitter.com/vbE1NrJkx4
Due to his size, it’s hard to play Turner as a every down player at this point in his career. However, if he continues to perform like he did on Sunday, he’ll earn more playing time on running downs.