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Debate heats up for Kobie Turner to win Defensive Rookie of the Year

Could Rams win both rookie awards if Kobie Turner, Puka Nacua sweep the show?

Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

Just when you thought you were out of energy to argue for Puka Nacua to win Offensive Rookie of the Year over C.J. Stroud, in steps Kobie Turner with a second half push to be the deserving 2023 Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Los Angeles Rams could indeed have two rookies who finish in the top-2 of voting for both sides of the ball and Les Snead didn’t even have a first round pick to work with.

That’s the definition of a historic rookie draft class.

Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson took to Twitter, specifically in an unexpected reply to aggregator Dov Kleiman, to argue that “there’s no way” that Jalen Carter “should even be talked about” for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Henderson notes that Turner is good against both the run and the pass, adding in a final jab that the “NFL is trying to give this award to there (sic) favorites” if Carter wins it over Turner.

Unsurprisingly, teammate Aaron Donald also tweeted that Turner should be the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He may have a point.

Turner didn’t have notable stats halfway through the season, but he has been dominant since the midway point and he clearly been one of L.A.’s most valuable players in their stretch run towards a surprise playoff berth.

In the last eight games, Kobie Turner has eight sacks, 33 tackles, 13 QB hits, and seven tackles for a loss. He has tied Aaron Donald’s franchise record for sacks by a rookie with nine, but again, Turner has eight in the last eight games alone.

“The Conductor” was a third round pick out of Wake Forest but is playing like a top-10 pick. He leads all rookies with nine sacks, which is two more than third overall pick Will Anderson and teammate Byron Young. Jalen Carter is fifth with six sacks. Carter has 18 pressures, but Turner has 19 pressures, as well as more snaps, more tackles, and better run defense.

It seems that the debate is coming down to Carter and Turner, with a smattering of votes for other defensive players like Anderson, Devon Witherspoon, and Tyrique Stevenson perhaps.