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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: OL Brandon Hitner ready to move

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Hitner was a star in the Colonial Athletic Association. How will he manage the jump into the NFL?

Villanova Wildcats OL Brandon Hitner sets into his stance against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, Sep. 2, 2017.
Villanova Wildcats OL Brandon Hitner sets into his stance against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, Sep. 2, 2017.
Dave Evans / Bowstring Studios

Brandon Hitner is making a jump.

Given his athleticism, that’s a bet worth making.

His performance at Villanova’s pro day opened eyes around the league when he posted numbers that would have put him near the top of the offensive linemen at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine:

A guard in high school who transitioned outside to left tackle while also playing basketball, athleticism has always been a point of strength for Hitner. At 6’6” and 305 lbs., offseason training will be an emphasis from the Los Angeles Rams certainly depending on where they intend to play him. If it’s inside, he’s going to have to get his weight up.

Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer will definitely have his eyes on Hitner heading into training camp next month.

Roster Battle

The Rams have three starting spots locked down and likely plug-ins for the other two spots. There’s also two draft picks from the 2019 NFL Draft likely ahead of Hitner in the pecking order.

So he’s fighting for a spot on the back of the roster or, more likely, the practice squad among the far depth. If he’s looking at the tackle spot, he’s likely behind those draft picks in Bobby Evans and David Edwards leaving him in a battle with fellow rookie undrafted free agent Matt Kaskey for the next spot. If it’s inside, the leaders among the depth were likely Aaron Neary and Jamil Demby though Neary’s four-game suspension to start the season likely shifted things here. That brings in Jeremiah Kolone, Vitas Hrynkiewicz (roster preview) and Chandler Brewer though position assignment will be key here depending on who the staff feels better about playing center instead of guard.

Expectations

Started from the bottom now we here.

Coming out of Villanova as an offensive lineman, he’s just not carrying much in this aspect. If anything, the expectations he’ll have to live up to might have to do with his build depending on what the Rams have asked of him.

For example, if he’s matched up with Brewer in a spot at guard, Brewer has about 15 pounds on him. If he’s up against Kaskey at tackle, he’s facing a 20-pound deficit. Now that’s not assuming he’s tasked with adding weight. If so, that’s what he has to deliver on heading into camp. If he’s instead been asked to deliver something else, so be it.

Chances of making the roster (1.5/10)

There’s too much recent investment to give him much of a shot at making the 53-man.

The practice squad is his likeliest shot if he shines over the next two months.