Once Sunday, September 10 arrives, the Los Angeles Rams will roll out one of the youngest rosters in the league.
Head coach Sean McVay will have at least 10 newcomers traveling up to the Pacific Northwest when the Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks to kick off the new season. And, the Rams will only have five players who are in their 30s.
Having new faces with zero experience in an NFL regular season setting may come off as daunting for any head coach. McVay, however, cracked a smile about the fact that his rookies will soon get their taste of the league.
“I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun working with them,” McVay said on Friday, September 8 inside their Thousand Oaks facility. “So when you’ve got a group that really wants to be able to continue to push each other in a positive way, and you get the opportunity to go compete and go cut it loose in one of the most competitive atmospheres and environments, this is the stuff that you love.”
Which Rookies are Anticipated to Make Their Rams Debut? Five to Watch
While McVay and the Rams are still finalizing the two-deep for Sunday’s afternoon tilt against the team they ended their 2022 season with, Ram fans should have a general idea of who will be on the field from the ’23 draft class.
And these first-year guys are anticipated to be counted on early to deliver an immediate impact:
Puka Nacua: The fifth-rounder out of BYU has already become an early fan favorite inside the “Rams House” for pulling down the deep lobs and showing his red zone prowess during training camp at UC Irvine. Now, with Cooper Kupp out with a hamstring, Nacua has a great chance to establish himself right away offensively with Matthew Stafford.
Awaiting him will be prized 2022 rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen, Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs, and Tre Brown. Although, the Seahawks have their own rookie on the final 53-man roster in Kyu Blu Kelly out of Stanford — which could present a potential rare battle of rookie fifth rounders.
Steve Avila: The Rams’ top pick of the 2023 draft was labeled by McVay as an expected immediate contributor. And from what it appears, the TCU standout will be manning left guard up north. Chances are, he’ll draw Bobby Wagner up the gut on plays Seattle dials the blitz.
Byron Young: He gets the chance to be unleashed early on Geno Smith and company. Young was drafted in the third round to help provide extra pass rush help. And right away, he’s likely to engage in contact with second-year left tackle Charles Cross.
Kobie Turner: Whether starting or not, Turner is anticipated to be aligned next to Aaron Donald. And with “A.D.” drawing the attention he’ll likely get, it bodes well for the rookie to earn more one-on-one battles and see how he fares slipping through there in an NFL setting.
Tre Tomlinson: Could he be the new “star” in replacing Jalen Ramsey? Tomlinson gets a huge test awaiting him with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and fellow rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba on the other side — the latter playing in the College Football Playoffs with Tomlinson.
One Rookie Won’t Make Trip
As anticipated, Stetson Bennett has been ruled out of the Sunday contest as he continues to deal with an injured shoulder.
McVay added that placing the Georgia Bulldogs multiple national title winner on injured reserve isn’t out of the question.
In the mean time, free agent signing Brett Rypien will be elevated to the No. 2 role behind Stafford.