The Los Angeles Rams will have to find two new starters on the offensive line after being relatively lucky it’s not three with LT Andrew Whitworth choosing not to retire. LG Rodger Saffold III signed with the Tennessee Titans and C John Sullivan’s option wasn’t picked up.
Looking at of the Rams voluntary workouts, it seems that Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen are going to get the first crack at replacing Saffold and Sullivan. OL Jamil Demby is lined up at left tackle, but this is probably most likely because the rookies aren’t there and Andrew Whitworth gets some veteran rest.
Jamil Demby, not Joseph Noteboom, at LT today pic.twitter.com/akHlukPHba— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) May 7, 2019
The Rams have intelligently invested a bit of draft capital over the last two drafts for the offensive line. Noteboom arrived via the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft preceding Oklahoma Sooners OT Bobby Evans in the 2019 NFL Draft third round. The Rams also spent Day 3 picks on Demby, Allen, and Wisconsin Badgers OL David Edwards in the last two drafts. I don’t think the above group (sub Whitworth for Demby of course) is what the Rams will end up with when the 2019 regular season starts.
Based on finding the best five guys, I believe the Rams will eventually have a starting lineup (from left to right) of Whitworth, Noteboom, Austin Blythe, Evans, and Rob Havenstein. Whitworth and Havenstein are the only positions somewhat set in stone. The interior is where things can get interesting. Blythe entered the league as a center and some, including myself, believe that is his best fit as he is undersized but is very smart and quick. In addition, his contract situation is interesting as the Rams could lock him in long-term at center for a better value than at guard; Blythe is set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
Noteboom showed flashes in his limited time, and I believe the staff will find a spot for him. Evans and Allen are the final pieces of this interior switcharoo. Rams Head Coach Sean McVay and Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Co-Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer will have to basically decide is the unit better with Blythe at center and Evans at right guard or Allen at center and Blythe at right guard. Ultimately, I think Evans brings a unique element to the offensive line as a more traditional power player and the right side (usually strong side for running) would be extremely powerful with Evans and Havenstein locking it down.
All in all, this is purely speculation on my part but regardless of my thoughts, the success of the last two seasons give me confidence that the Rams will explore all options to ensure as much continued success up front as they can.