A team on the heels of a massive Super Bowl hangover, it’s full-blown rebuild time for Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams. With a majority of the championship core elsewhere and a division slowly improving around them, it’s truly amazing just how quickly a franchise can go from hero to zero in a span of a season.
However, zero expectations mean it’s time for a change, and with change comes fresh legs, new faces, and young talent. While the franchise hasn’t had a first-round pick since 2016 (Jared Goff), its second selection in this year’s draft class showcases an athlete that deserves attention as we creep toward summer.
A grown man off the edge with years of SEC experience, I don’t expect EDGE Byron Young to take long in his adjustment period from college to the pro game. A highly touted recruit that amassed 12.5 sacks combined the last two seasons in Knoxville, Young’s evaluation hit a new stratosphere after getting eyes on him down at the Senior Bowl.
From there, a dominant NFL Scouting Combine and Tennessee Pro Day solidified his status as one of the more underrated 5-techs in the entire class. While teams opted for other athletes as Day 1 and the early portions of Day 2 were completed, It didn’t take long for Rams general manager Les Snead to turn in his card with the 77th overall pick.
Hollywood bound @byron_97 #NFLVols | #GBO 🍊 pic.twitter.com/CXgnYGxuVK
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) May 5, 2023
A player who will don the lone number zero for the first time in Rams history (Steve Bagarus wore No. 00 in 1947), his story is as unique as the uni. From JUCO ball to serving as an assistant general manager at Dollar General, to the NFL, everything has always been earned for Young. Power, fluidity, hands, ability in the run, there aren’t many boxes he doesn’t check. And while testing well in the 40, broad, and vert don’t always translate to how well a prospect can produce on Sundays, he ran 4.43 at 243 pounds and showcased elite explosion that also popped on tape.
Nobody in CFB works off DL games more effectively than Tennessee’s Byron Young (@byron_97). Former juco standout had 5.5 sacks in ‘21 for @Vol_Football and @seniorbowl expects big jump production-wise this fall w/ improved 1-on-1 rush skill. Impressive range & finish here 😳: pic.twitter.com/OxE5DZhwVm
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) July 21, 2022
With Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey, and others gone from their magical Super Bowl run in 2021, the Rams have found themselves back near the lower peg on the NFL totem pole. Although Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, and Cooper Kupp remain, the newfound presence of youth in the form of Byron Young is the type of ballplayer that rejuvenates a defensive front and could soon become one of the league’s premier young pass rushers.
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