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St. Louis Rams: Rokevious Watkins Deemed “Backup"

St. Louis Rams’ offensive line coach - Paul Boudreau - sheds light on the position battle at left guard.


In an article on Fox Sports Midwest - discussing Rodger Saffold finding peace with his switch from left to right tackle - the Rams’ offensive line coach, Paul Boudreau, makes a comment about one particular player that has implications on the team’s depth chart.

If you are a guy who is a backup guy, Rokevious Watkins or Brandon Washington, you are a swing guy, so you are going to have to work like a switch hitter.

This snippet was mainly in reference to Saffold’s transition from left tackle to the right side of the line, and how he’ll need to make both mental and physical adjustments in his new role. The move for Saffold was not of his own volition, but he’s coming to grips with it. At least he’s still a starter.

The same cannot be said for Rams’ 2012 5th round selection - Rokevious Watkins - who played LG in Week 1 of the 2012 season; a game in which Watkins was placed on IR. He won’t be starting in Week 1 of the 2013 season.

Boudreau makes it pretty clear that the position battle at guard has now come down to Chris Williams and Shelley Smith. Williams - a former 1st round pick of the Chicago Bears - was acquired by the Rams last year, having seen through his rookie contract with the Bears. He played both left tackle and left guard while in Chicago. The 27 year old Williams re-signed a one year deal with the Rams on April 1, 2013. Shelley Smith was a 6th round pick for the Houston Texans in the 2010 NFL draft. He made his first career start [at left guard] on October 21, 2012 when the Rams faced the Green Bay Packers in St. Louis. Like Williams, Smith finds himself in a contract year.

Williams has been working with the starting lineman in the early portion of the offseason. There’s still plenty of time left in training camp and the preseason to iron out the details, so use a pencil when creating your Rams’ starting roster.

The Week 1 suspension of Rokevious Watkins will keep him out of the Rams’ season opener. Barring a change of heart by Boudreau, being outplayed by Williams and Smith will keep him from starting in Week 2 and beyond.