If Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff being sacked 25 times in the final six games of the 2016 season - or Todd Gurley’s inability to seemingly ever find sufficient running room - didn’t highlight their dire need to make major upgrades along their offensive line, there’s probably not much else that could.
If the Rams are to find any form of success on the ground - or in the air - in the upcoming year, Sean McVay and his staff are going to have to find a way to get more out of their current crop of lineman, or find viable replacements in the draft or free agency.
According to Charlie Campbell, or Walter Football, the Rams interviewed Michigan offensive tackle Erik Magnuson after Tuesday’s East West Shrine Game practice. To be clear, as Campbell notes, these short post-practice meetings are more aimed at setting up longer, formal interviews at some point in time during the week.
In Magnuson’s sophomore and junior seasons, he appeared in 20 games, making 12 starts at guard. Now a fifth year senior, Magnuson finished out his career making 23 consecutive starts as the team’s right tackle, and earning All-Big Ten first team honors. He also received the Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award in 2016, which is given to Michigan’s top offensive lineman. Prior to his final year at Michigan, he made the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman.
In a write-up prior to the onset of the 2016 season, CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler took a look at Magnuson in his “Top NFL Draft Prospects” series.
Magnuson, who has experience at tight end on his Michigan résumé, moves with a smooth shuffle and wide base, transferring his weight well in his kickslide to mirror edge rushers. He stays low off the snap and prefers to use his hands to control the point of attack to out-leverage and out-power defenders. Magnuson is able to secure downblocks and anchor at shallow depth, driving his legs to finish in the Wolverines' power offense. He has also been praised by the coaching staff for his leadership and consistency during the week.
Although hustle and effort aren't an issue, Magnuson has sloppy tendencies with a bad habit of lowering his head and losing sight of his target, ending up on the ground. He tends to be a waist bender and lacks ideal length to compensate, which allows savvy rushers to get him off balance and leaning. While powerful when squared to defenders, Magnuson will struggle to recover once defenders attack his shoulder.
CBS Sports also has him listed as their 12th ranked (4th round projection) offensive tackle on their updated list of 2017 top offensive tackles.
For a closer look at Magnuson, you can see No. 78 in action on Draft Breakdown:
- vs. 4th ranked Wisconsin (2016)
- vs. Illinois (2016)
- vs. Penn State (2016)
Drafting Magnuson clearly wouldn’t solve the Rams’ woes along their offensive front. But simply meeting with quality players is a step in the right direction.
It should also be noted however, according to Walter Football’s draft prospect visit tracker (by team), the Rams have met with 34 players at the East-West Shrine game over the past three seasons — none of which were taken in the NFL Draft.