Options. Plenty of options.
Options seem to be the theme of the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive line moving forward. As we sit today, the projected starters across the offensive line goes:
LT Andrew Whitworth
LG Joe Noteboom
C Brian Allen
RG Austin Blythe
RT Rob Havenstein
Obviously, both 2018 NFL Draft picks Joe Noteboom and Brian Allen are projected to be inserted in the starting lineup due to the loss of LG Rodger Saffold in free agency, and the cutting of veteran C John Sullivan.
So what does this mean for the 2019 NFL Draft?
Well, it brings us back to the “options” portion of this article.
The Rams currently sit at pick #31 in the first round, and though most probably expect a trade down, the Rams are in a prime spot to land a plug-and-play offensive lineman (even with a trade down). My big board had multiple offensive lineman such as centers Erik McCoy and Garret Bradbury, and guards Chris Lindstrom and Dalton Risner as potential options with the top pick. All four prospects could step in and start day one. What separates them though, could be the Rams’ plans for the future.
Andrew Whitworth is likely to retire post-2019. Austin Blythe only has one year remaining on his contract. And Noteboom and Allen have yet to really be cemented into a certain position. If the Rams view Allen as the surefire future at center, they may opt to select a guard with the top pick. If they view Noteboom as a quality starting guard and Blythe a long-term solution at right guard, they could opt to select the top center on the board. Or they could throw a total curveball and plan on moving Blythe to center and replacing him with a guard.
The options are truly endless. What is certain is that the Rams have plenty of options between quality players that span multiple positions across the offensive line. So for a team that lost two veteran offensive lineman (one of tremendous quality) in one offseason, they could remain in a great position across the offensive line.