After remaining relatively healthy on the offensive line in 2021, it took all of one week for the Los Angeles Rams to endure injuries up front this season. With Brian Allen suffering a knee injury against the Buffalo Bills, the Rams will be playing musical chairs on the offensive line in Week 2.
Due to the fact that there is no depth behind Allen, Coleman Shelton will be moving over from right guard to the center position. With Shelton moving over, taking his place at right guard will be third-year player Tremayne Anchrum.
Anchrum will be a complete unknown on the offensive line as he hasn’t taken any regular season snaps in his NFL career. Some thought that Anchrum might get a shot last year at left tackle after Andrew Whitworth missed the Minnesota Vikings game and Joe Noteboom left early due to an injury. However, the Rams opted for AJ Jackson over Anchrum in that game.
Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times in Week 1 while the offensive line allowed 15 pressures. The Atlanta Falcons pass-rush is nothing to write home about, but they have talented players who are underrated such as Grady Jarrett. For a player making his first career start, Anchrum will have his hands full.
Drafted out of Clemson with their final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Anchrum is a player that the Rams have always thought very highly of. Heading into the 2021 season, Les Snead said,
“I think we like big Tremayne Anchrum. Didn’t necessarily play in games, he did dress for a couple of games, but going back to those camp practices, you definitely saw some things there.
Going back to the draft, Anchrum was a very underrated player due to his size. He had a lot of starting experience, but due to his size and lack of athleticism, he wasn’t seen as a starting caliber tackle by pundits. With shorter arms and slower feet, it was also thought that he would need to slide inside to guard at the next level. However, he didn’t have experience playing guard at Clemson.
In the pre-draft process, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said,
“Anchrum does an excellent job of getting to landmarks laterally as a move blocker and has above-average body control to adjust and capture his second-level blocks. He has the tools to fire out and operate as a base blocker but could find himself controlled by two-gapping defensive tackles due to his short arms and average hand quickness. Despite his lack of desired size and length, he could be a nice, capable fit as a quality backup guard for a team looking to play in space.”
It blows me away that #Clemson RT Tremayne Anchrum isn't getting more love nationally. I explained why on the Journey To The Draft Podcast #ALLIN— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) September 28, 2019
LISTEN: https://t.co/yMxm8CcvwB pic.twitter.com/znAFAOucEU
Anchrum was seen as a player that had the intangibles, was respected by his coaches, and simply got the job done. He was a very important piece on the Clemson offensive line as he started the 2019 NCAA National Championship game.
As a four-year starter for the Tigers, Anchrum was named first-team All-ACC as a senior. After the Rams selected Anchrum with the 250th overall pick, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said of his offensive lineman,
“Tremayne Anchrum was a very underrated guy in this draft. He has been four-year starter out of position and has played against the best of the best from Chase Young to Clelin Ferrell and everybody in between. He’s incredibly smart, very athletic, strong, and has a great football IQ.
He is another guy that is going to change a locker room from a leadership standpoint. He is a captain and a graduate. he brings a lot of versatility to the offensive line because he can play tackle, obviously, because he started for us at this level for four years, but I think he’s got a chance to make a really good guard at the next level.”
Through his first three years in the NFL, Anchrum hasn’t seen a lot of playing time. He hasn’t played any snaps on offense, but has been a special teams contributor. Everything that we’ve seen from Anchrum to this point has been in the preseason. Given that offensive linemen are playing next to players they likely won’t play next to in the regular season, it’s very difficult to judge offensive line play in August.
With that said, during the 2021 preseason, Anchrum was someone who stood out. His 77.5 run-blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus was the best on the team. Most of his snaps came at right tackle where he had 136 reps. He also had 33 snaps at left guard.
This year in the preseason, Anchrum once again paced the Rams offensive linemen in run-blocking. His 78.0 run-blocking grade via PFF led the team. This number ranked ninth among guards with at least 90 snaps during the preseason. He also only gave up four pressures in pass protection.
Again, however, most of those snaps came on the left side. Ancrhum played 27 snaps at left tackle and 43 snaps at left guard. On Sunday against the Falcons, he’ll be asked to play right guard where he has only played 20 snaps.
Anchrum will get his chance to show what he can do in action on Sunday against the Falcons. We’ll get to see why the Rams have had as much confidence in Anchrum as they have ever since they drafted him in the seventh round.
Earlier this preseason after Logan Bruss went down with an injury, McVay showed his confidence in Anchrum saying,
“I thought last week, in particular, Tremayne Anchrum really stood out, and A.J. Jackson. I think those guys have shown they are capable players.”
Every coach has had nothing but good things to say about the Anchrum. While there is a lot of unknown with the former Clemson prospect, there is also a lot to be excited about. Just this week while preparing for the Falcons, offensive coordinator Liam Coen said about Anchrum,
“He’s had a great training camp. I remember when I was here in 2020, (Tree) Tremayne just had come in and you could just see his process. He’s a super smart, diligent player. He’s sturdy. He can anchor. He’s always showing some of those traits whether it be on the practice squad when I was here...It leads you to believe that, ‘Hey, given an opportunity, let’s see what he can do.’ Physically he can do it.”
Over the next 2-4 weeks, Anchrum will get to show what he’s capable of with Allen on the sidelines. If he plays well enough, it’s possible the Rams could opt to just keep him in at right guard for the rest of the season.