The St. Louis Rams added an offensive linemen on Monday, signing free agent guard Chris Williams. The former Chicago Bear replaces Quinn Ojinnaka on the roster, who was cut by the Rams on Monday morning. Now, the question is where Williams fits into the mix for the Rams offensive line.
Williams was a first-round pick by the Bears in 2008. Injuries limited Williams to just nine games last season, but in that stretch he allowed just one sack on Jay Cutler according to Pro Football Focus. He spent most of the year as the left guard, moving over from tackle the year before.
His best season was 2009. He started five games on the left side and the others on the right. As a left tackle, he allowed just two sacks that season. That he never found a starting job this year on the Bears offensive line is something of a red flag, but the Rams have been a welcome halfway house for rebound candidates.
After moving him around the Bears finally cut bait in October of this year. Since then, Williams has been a popular commodity on the free agent circuit, making stops in Arizona, Philadelphia and San Diego. His first-round bona fides make for an interesting addition to the Rams, where offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has been turning the most anonymous of players from an already anonymous position into a serviceable starters.
When might the Rams feature Chris Williams in their lineup? I would guess that this week is too soon. They were slow to use Joe Barksdale and Shelley Smith this week, giving them each a few weeks to learn the system and get comfortable with their linemates.
Williams is most likely ticketed for the guard spot, depending on the health of Rodger Saffold and Wayne Hunter. Hunter and Barry Richardson have done yeoman's work as fill-ins, but you can easily make the case that the tackle position could be better staffed. As for the left guard spot, that leaves you to wonder if Robert Turner just goes back to the bench after filling in for Scott Wells and doing a fine job of it. Turner was a left guard before Wells got hurt.