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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: Backup center Austin Blythe could be making a Week 1 start

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Versatility should keep the Rams’ backup center in LA for the second straight year

Houston Texans v Los Angeles Ram Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Austin Blythe didn’t take the field very often in 2017. And he didn’t need to. The Los Angeles Rams were very fortunate from an injury perspective last year, allowing their starters to do the brunt of the work in the trenches.

But Blythe’s number could have been called at a moment’s notice if starting center John Sullivan, or even one of the team’s starting guards, were to sustain an injury. And it’s Blythe’s versatility along the line that should keep him around for at least another season.

Roster Battle

While Blythe won’t be challenging Sullivan for the starting spot, he could most likely get the job done in a pinch. But the former Rimington Award finalist (2016) will have to fend off Rams’ rookie Brian Allen - who the Rams drafted with the 111th overall pick (4th round) of this most recent draft - for his role as backup.

As aforementioned, Blythe appears to be in a good spot based on his in-game experience, albeit limited, in the league. Heading into his third year in the NFL, Blythe has proven serviceable at both center and guard — something that will obviously work to his advantage in the upcoming year.

Expectations

Rookie center Brian Allen may find himself in the backup role sooner than expected, and it may have nothing to do with winning the position battle over Blythe. It was recently announced that Jamon Brown would be suspended for the first two games of the 2018 season, opening the door for Blythe to earn the third and fourth starts of his young career at right guard.

Brown will ultimately slide back in with the starters in Week 3, and it’s back to waiting in the wings for Blythe.

Chances of Making the Final Roster (9/10)

Given the versatility and experience, and barring any unforeseen injury, Blythe’s chances of making the roster are very strong. His ability to slide in at guard or center makes him a very valuable member of the Rams’ offensive front. Expect to see him in Los Angeles in 2018, and potentially trotting out with the starting squad in early September.