So far in this series, we’ve compared the LA Rams at defensive line and at cornerback to the rest of the NFC West. I also compared their first round picks over the last five years to the rest of the division.
Today: How does the all-important offensive line compare?
Sean McVay is entering his fifth season with the Rams, and his fifth season with Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein as his bookend starting tackles. The names in between those guys have changed — and nobody has been missed more than guard Rodger Saffold — but 2021’s expected starting five could be an upgrade as compared to the five last year, even if only because these players have had an additional year in the system.
Will Whitworth and Havenstein be as sure as ever?
Starting Five: Andrew Whitworth-David Edwards-Austin Corbett-Bobby Evans-Rob Havenstein
Depth: Joseph Noteboom, Chandler Brewer, Brian Allen, Tremayne Anchrum, Coleman Shelton, Jamil Demby
It’s hard for any team in the entire NFL to compete with this level of familiarity between an offensive line and a head coach, or the chemistry that could exist between players with this much continuity. Not a single one of these players wasn’t on the roster last season. The only exceptions are a few undrafted free agents who I didn’t list.
Starting Five: Duane Brown-Damien Lewis-Ethan Pocic-Gabe Jackson-Brandon Shell
Depth: Jamarco Jones, Kyle Fuller, Phil Haynes, Cedric Ogbuehi, Stone Forsythe*, Jordan Simmons
Seattle may have its best starting guard duo of the last 10 years after trading for Jackson. Lewis had potentially the best rookie season of any offensive lineman of the Pete Carroll era. Given Brown’s age, the rest of the offensive line seems to fall into a category of “good” or “fine” but depth could be a concern.
Starting Five: D.J. Humphries-Justin Pugh-Rodney Hudson-Brian Winters-Kelvin Beachum
Depth: Josh Jones, Michal Menet*, Branden Bowen, Justin Murray, Lamont Gaillard, Max Garcia
I think Humphries could quietly be the best left tackle in the division, but that will require that he responds with a huge 2021 season. Especially if he wants to be rated higher than Trent Williams. I think it is possible. The Cards also added Hudson at center and they could have the most years of experience among their starting five. The depth has to be a concern though. Any injuries to these veterans and Arizona’s offensive line might fall apart.
Starting Five: Trent Williams-Laken Tomlinson-Alex Mack-Daniel Brunskill-Mike McGlinchey
Depth: Aaron Banks*, Jaylon Moore*, Shon Coleman, Tom Compton, Senio Kelemete, Colton McKivitz, Jake Brendel
San Francisco was the only one of the four teams to spend a day two pick on an offensive lineman (Banks). Like Arizona, they added a veteran center, in this case it being Alex Mack. There are few training camp competitions for starting offensive line jobs in the NFC West as we head into camp, but maybe the Niners starting right guard and LA’s starting right guard are the only exceptions. And I don’t think that Evans is in real danger of falling out of first place with the Rams.
The entire NFC West is basically set at offensive line before training camp even begins. Where will the Rams rank amongst them next season?
Who has the best starting five in the NFC West?
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If you answered Rams, try this poll out for size...
Other than the Rams, who has the best starting five in the NFC West?
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