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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: OL Austin Blythe looking to become a mainstay

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A 16-game starter in 2018, Blythe is looking to secure a long-term contract with a strong 2019 season.

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Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After being drafted as a seventh-round pick in 2016, Austin Blythe began his career in solid form as he worked his way up from NFL backup offensive lineman to starting right guard for the Super Bowl-bound 2018 Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams added Blythe in 2017 after he was waived by the Indianapolis Colts. That year, he primarily served as a backup starting only one game in Week 17 when the Rams rested their starters against the San Francisco 49ers in advance of the playoffs. Last season was a different story as Blythe started in Week 1 replacing suspended RG Jamon Brown. Blythe’s performance was spectacular. He subsequently never relinquished the job and remained a starter for all 16 regular season games and three more in the playoffs.

Roster Battle

There really won’t be any battle for Blythe as it pertains to the roster. The starting five offensive line is more or less entrenched as LT Andrew Whitworth, LG Joseph Noteboom, C Brian Allen, RG Austin Blythe, and RT Rob Havenstein. The two offensive lineman who could get shuffled by way of performance are the two newcomers in Noteboom and Allen. The only potential for any shuffling from Blythe is if an unforeseen circumstance arises (injury?), Blythe could very well be asked to slide to center with another backup lineman stepping in his vacated right guard spot. In the event of a situation like that, 2019 NFL Draft third-round pick Bobby Evans (roster preview) or swing tackle Jamil Demby (roster preview) could be the first to be called upon.

Expectations

For a guy entering his fourth NFL season and second season as a starter, my expectations are rather high. Blythe proved he belonged in the league last year as he was one of the better rated guards in the league per PFF. With more familiarity and development, Blythe could continue to prove his worth as a starting quality offensive lineman.

Chances of making the final roster (10/10)

Blythe is not only a roster lock at this point, he’s a lock to start as many games as he’s capable of starting.