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Which Guard/Center Among LA Rams’ Pre-Draft Visitors Should They Select?

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There’s still work to do along the Rams’ offensive front.

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NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

If the Los Angeles Rams hope to see their offense make a quick about-face in 2017, some pretty drastic measures must be taken to address their offensive line.

A 3.2 yard-per-carry average for Todd Gurley, and allowing Jared Goff to be sacked 26 times in seven games, will only lead to more of the same (the league’s worst offense) in the upcoming year. But Sean McVay and his new staff have already made a few changes that should encourage the fan base.

Greg Robinson, the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has most likely played his last snap at left tackle for the Rams. General Manager Les Snead has already hinted at a potential position change for G-Rob, noting “everything but center is under consideration.” It remains to be seen where Robinson will land, whether that be right tackle, guard, or free agency.

Filling that void will be former Cincinnati Bengals’ blindside protector, Andrew Whitworthwho the Rams signed at the onset of free agency. At 35 years of age, Whitworth won’t be the long-term solution, but the well-respected veteran provides an immediate, and substantial, upgrade to the most important position on the offensive line.

Rodger Saffold will slide back into his role as starting guard, but outside of that it’s a competition. Rob Havenstein, who had a promising rookie season, underperformed in 2016. He’ll be competing with Robinson, Cody Wichmann, and Andrew Donnal for a potential starting job at either guard or right tackle, where he’s played each of the past two seasons.

Center is still a mess, despite recently signing former Redskin John Sullivan. The 31-year old, like Whitworth, isn’t a long-term solution. After having back surgery in 2015, which forced him to miss the entire season, Sullivan landed in Washington, where he started one game. That’s one more than Rams’ center Demetrius Rhaney, who is the only other center currently on their roster...assuming they don’t intend to transition one of their guards (Wichmann?) into center.

Expect the Rams’ new staff to look at the current crop of lineman at a variety of positions along the offensive line.

Also expect them to look to this year’s draft to solidify a position or two. The Rams have already met with (as of April 9th) several prospects at center and guard — the positions with the most uncertainty. Some interviews/meetings were held at the NFL Scouting Combine, others at pro days or private visits. There are potentially others as well, but as of right now, these are the ones that have been reported.

Note: Players are listed based on their overall CBS Sports Prospect Ranking. Additionally, positional rankings can be found in the far right columns, from CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler and Pro Football Focus’ draft guides (which can be purchased here and here, respectively).

Guard/Center Pre-Draft Visits

CBS Rank Name Position College Proj. Round Brugler PFF
CBS Rank Name Position College Proj. Round Brugler PFF
28 Forrest Lamp OG Western Kentucky 1-2 OG1 OG1
54 Dion Dawkins OG Temple 2 OG3 OT8
131 Kyle Fuller C Baylor 4 C5 C8
132 Jessamen Dunker OG Tennesse St. 4 OG14 NR
341 Chase Roullier C Wyoming 7-FA OG15 C2
407 Tobijah Hughley C Louisville -- C15 NR
443 Max Halpin C Western Kentucky -- C18 C7
753 Geoff Gray OG Manitoba -- OG51 NR

Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp is the highest ranked interior offensive lineman the Rams have visited with thus far, and Brugler and PFF both have him listed as the draft’s top guard.

From Brugler:

A four-year starter at Western Kentucky, Lamp developed into one of the most consistent left tackles in college football and performed extremely well against elite non-conference opponents like Alabama (2016) and LSU (2015) – Crimson Tide defenders Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson singled out Lamp as one of the best blockers they have faced. A physical, technically-sound blocker, he works hard to keep rushers in front of him in pass protection and rolls his hips as a run blocker to create movement. Similar to Zach Martin as a pro prospect, Lamp might be able to survive in the NFL at tackle due to his coordinated, square-blocking skills, but his lack of ideal length makes him better suited as an interior blocker. With his body control, core strength and stubborn mentality, Lamp has the necessary traits to make the transition to guard and start early in his NFL career – first round player with Pro Bowl potential.

Center, however, is arguably the bigger need for the Rams. Sullivan and Rhaney combined for 98 total offensive snaps in 2016, and 100% of those snaps were taken by the Redskins’ backup.

CBS Sports’ top ranked center (that has visited the Rams thus far) is Baylor’s Kyle Fuller — a Day 3 player in their eyes. Brugler is higher than PFF on Fuller, listing him as the draft’s fifth best center behind Pat Elflein (Ohio St.), Tyler Orlosky (WVU), J.J. Dielman (Utah), and John Toth (Kentucky).

Something to note: the lowest ranked (341) “draft-worthy” player on CBS Sports’ board is Wyoming center Chase Roullier, who they feel is a 7th round/UDFA player. Brugler sees Roullier as a better fit at guard, and projects him as the draft’s OG15.

PFF, however, is much higher on the former (Wyoming) Cowboy, and has him listed as the draft’s second best center, behind only LSU’s Ethan Pocic.

Roullier makes blocking look easy at times and can be a dominant in-line blocker. Generates movement as good as any lineman in the draft and has the versatility to play guard and center. Pass protection and overall athleticism could be an issue for Roullier but his ability to consistently win blocks outweighs any concerns over either weakness. Roullier has the ability to steer defensive lineman in a way rarely seen and his solid grades the last two seasons show his productivity. Roullier has the tools necessary to start at center or guard in the NFL and has the skill set to have a solid future in the NFL.


So, TST, which one of these players do you feel is a good fit for the Rams? If a player like Forrest Lamp is available at 37, do you take him and pass up on a potentially game-changing receiver or tight end? Where do center or offensive guard fall, if at all, on your list of draft priorities for the team?

Poll

Which of the Players with Pre-Draft Visits Would You Like to See the Rams Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Forrest Lamp
    (181 votes)
  • 3%
    Dion Dawkins
    (15 votes)
  • 20%
    Kyle Fuller
    (79 votes)
  • 0%
    Jessamen Dunker
    (2 votes)
  • 19%
    Chase Roullier
    (78 votes)
  • 9%
    None
    (38 votes)
393 votes total Vote Now