Heading into the season, the Los Angeles Rams were viewed as a rebuilding team with a long ways to go. Enter a remarkably strong draft class and LA was able to finish a surprising 10-7 with a trip to the Wild Card Round. GM Les Snead’s stellar draft haul received further recognition from the media on Thursday.
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks named four Rams to his 2023 All-Rookie Team, tying the Detroit Lions with the most selections. Wide receiver Puka Nacua, guard Steve Avila, linebacker Byron Young and nose tackle Kobie Turner made the cut on Brooks’ team.
Here is all that Brooks had to say about each of LA first-year players in his January 18 article:
“The record-breaking rookie might supplant Cooper Kupp as the Rams’ No. 1 receiver in 2024 — if he hasn’t already done so. The big-bodied playmaker finished fourth in the league in receiving yards (1,486), notching 105 catches and six touchdowns. What a revelation the last pick of Round 5 turned out to be.”
Most receptions of 15+ YDS in the wildcard round:— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 16, 2024
Romeo Doubs - 5
Puka Nacua - 5 pic.twitter.com/qT71LMefu0
“Avila thrived in the Rams’ zone-based scheme as a polished technician with quick feet and strong hands. Few interior blockers can match his consistency and effectiveness in latching on and running defenders out of the hole.”
“The lightning-quick pass rusher made his mark immediately as a pro, logging eight sacks, eight tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits in 17 games. Young added a pair of forced fumbles while displaying the first-step quickness and burst coaches covet in a designated pass rusher.”
“The energetic playmaker quickly emerged as the perfect complement to Aaron Donald at the point of attack. Turner’s relentless approach and underrated hand-to-hand combat skills could make him a perennial Pro Bowler.”
I agreed with all the selections on Brooks’ list, yet I believe punter Ethan Evans was snubbed in favor of the Patriots’ Bryce Baringer. Evans had the edge over Baringer in punting average (49.2 to 46.9). Although, Brooks acknowledged Baringer led the NFL with 38 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. For reference, Evans ranked 24th in that category, per Pro Football Reference.
Either way, if that was my only complaint about this All-Rookie Team, I’ll happily take it. The future is indeed so freaking bright in Hollywood, Rams faithful.
The future is so bright in LA man…— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) January 19, 2024
I mean all of these young key contributors you found out were as good as advertised or WAY better than advertised. Future is f— bright for… pic.twitter.com/SCT6CzoLtg