The Los Angeles Rams don’t have much money to spend, but they do have needs on the interior of their offensive line and Les Snead will need to get creative in how he plans to fortify their depth in that area. The following 13 names will not be “exciting” for most of you but these are potentially the more realistic options at Snead’s disposal when it comes to the 2021 free agent market.
Plus, these players are all under 28 years old, giving them some hope of developmental progress to come.
Elijah Wilkinson, 26, Broncos
Wilkinson, undrafted out of UMass in 2017, started seven games at guard in 2018 and has started 19 at tackle over the last two seasons. The blog Predominantly Orange doesn’t see Wilkinson as a player who will develop into a consistent right tackle.
Going into the season, the Broncos would be betting on Wilkinson or Anderson as the RT1, placing a lot of responsibility on them and Mike Munchak. I would not be overly surprised if one of them can develop, but I do not think it is likely, and I do not think the Broncos would make this scenario happen, but it is possible.
Alex Redmond, 26, Bengals
Undrafted out of UCLA in 2017, Redmond started 15 games at guard in 2018. He has started nine over the last two seasons. He served a four-game suspension for PEDs in 2019 and spent much of 2020 on the practice squad.
Ethan Pocic, 26, Seahawks
A second round pick out of LSU in 2017, Pocic struggled at guard for three seasons and was moved back to his natural position of center in 2020. Pocic started 14 games at center for Seattle last season. The blog Seahawk Maven sees Pocic as a strength in the passing game and a weakness in the run game.
Starting a career-high 14 regular season games, he made tremendous strides in pass protection keeping Russell Wilson clean, allowing only two sacks, three quarterback hits, and 20 total pressures during the regular season per Pro Football Focus. In his first two NFL seasons alone, he allowed eight sacks on 577 pass blocking snaps. He also committed just three penalties on over 900 offensive snaps, bringing much-needed stability to the middle of Seattle’s offensive line.
As well as Pocic held up in pass protection, he continued to struggle as a run blocker, which remains a key part of Seattle’s offensive attack. Even after bulking up to 320 pounds, he still has issues moving defenders off the snap and his inability to create push consistently hurt the Seahawks’ ground game between the tackles. Per Sports Info Solutions, he had eight blown blocks in the run game and Pro Football Focus gave him a mediocre 61.9 run blocking grade, which ranked 23rd out of 30 qualified centers with over 700 offensive snaps.
Jermaine Eluemunor, 27, Patriots
A fifth round pick of the Ravens in 2017, Eluemunor only started three games in his first two seasons. He went to the Patriots in 2019 and started eight games at tackle last season. Pats Pulpit liked his versatility, but he was not without struggles.
From a performance perspective, Eluemunor’s 2020 season has to be split in two halves: his pre-injury outings were impressive and he played some good football at the right tackle position. After missing time on IR and later being asked to take over Wynn’s role as the Patriots’ left tackle, however, he struggled with consistency and eventually was benched following a bad game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14. Eluemunor finished the season having given up 18 quarterback pressures, including a team-high five sacks.
Forrest Lamp, 27, Chargers
Lamp is one of the more well known options because he was a fringe first round pick in 2017, going 38th overall to the Chargers. Lamp missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL. When he returned in 2018, Lamp was relegated to a backup role. He then broke his leg in 2019. Lamp started all 16 games in 2020 but there’s been little talk from Chargers world about retaining him. LA is looking to overhaul most of their line from last season.
Dan Feeney, 27, Chargers
Cole Toner, 27, Chargers
Rashaad Coward, 27, Bears
Pat Elflein, 27, Jets
A third round pick out of Ohio State in 2017, Elflein started 27 games at center in his first two seasons, then 15 games at left guard in 2019. He was waived last year and he spent six games with the Jets. Elflein has interior versatility but may not be of starter quality.
Danny Isidora, 27, Steelers
Jordan Simmons, 27, Seahawks
Simmons went undrafted out of USC and has a long and troubling injury history that has robbed him of most opportunities since high school. He finally put it together in 2020 and appeared in 14 games, but only six starts and he wasn’t seen as an upgrade for one of the worst offensive lines in the league.
Aaron Stinnie, 27, Bucs
Ike Boettger, 27, Bills
Undrafted out of Iowa in 2017, Boettger didn’t get his first chance to start until last season. Buffalo’s injuries inside forced Boettger into seven starts and he was given adequate marks for his performance.
Appearing 12 total games and making seven starts, Boettger was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Overall, Pro Football Focus graded Boettger a 65.3 mark. While the eye test didn’t always follow suit here, his run-blocking grade actually carried him.