Players at the end of the draft are all long shots, with ceilings limited to backup roles and more likely, the practice squad. But all is not lost, draft history is scattered with stories of Round 7 or undrafted players defying the odds and becoming valuable performers.
Currently, of the Rams 10 offensive linemen under contract, six are Round 7 draft picks or undrafted free agents, so it is just as likely that Les Snead takes late-round developmental players as early top-rated guys.
A good example is the Chandler Brewer, a big, strong interior guy with long arms and huge hands. He’s been fixture on the L.A. practice squad since being inked as an undrafted rookie in 2019. Because of offensive line injury woes, Brewer got a chance this past year to get some consistent play time and stack up some good performances. And he did. Not claiming it was All-Pro grade, but solid work just the same.
There are, at least, ten or more prospects that could fit into this particular category, but here are three that I particularly like.
Rounds 1, 2
Rounds 3, 4
Rounds 5, 6
Tier #4, Round 7 & Priority UDFA
Cedrice Paillant, Marshall - 6’ 3” / 325 lbs. / 10” hands / 34” arms / 84” wingspan @ si.com
Powerful, mauling type blocker, who has big lower half. He latches on, keeps feet moving and drives players until pancaked or the whistle. Not an elite mover, can but get to short reach blocks and works double team combo into the second level. Not a great striker on the move. Started his college career at Rutgers and looks lighter afoot and raw in those earlier days, although just as menacing.
Improved over college time and became a good pass blocker, learning to set a good anchor and use his length. Needs technique work on hand use and punch, but when he gets ahold, he takes you down. Starting to use independent arms as a senior.
Projects best in a downhill, power scheme, but would fit into the Rams mid/inside zone with ability to handle gap. Personally, I would love to see get some nastiness on the offensive line, even if relegated to a developmental role. If you want a good look at Paillant, try looking at Rutgers OL/Offense vs. Michigan defense 2021 on You Tube.
McClendon Curtis, Tennessee-Chatanooga - 6’ 6” / 331 lbs. / 10 1/4” hands / 35” arms / 84” wingspan @ Senior Bowl
FCS player with a slew of All-American and All-conference accolades in football, academics, and leadership. Named to the Feldman’s Freaks List for his combination of size and strength. Curtis brings guard/tackle versatility to the NFL. Named to the Senior Bowl, Turf Show Times writer Blaine Grisak called him a Day 2 standout during workouts.
Projects as a developmental player with stellar physical upside, better run blocker at this point. Great power and strength to turn and seal or drive defenders. He’s got good burst laterally in outside zone, generally keeps his knees bent and pad level (for a tall guy), and leverages his strength and length. For such an physically-gifted guy, he looks a little leaden in his footwork and move skills look a little Frankenstein-ish in open space, but didn’t appear to be called on to move over large areas often. Whether this is inherent weakness or is technique that can be coached up, remains to be decided.
In pass, he needs to utilize that length and power, often lets rushers beat him with hands, get control, and attack his anchor. When he he does fire out that punch and gets latched on, he can can control with strength. Too inconsistent. Again, can technical improvements bring his pass blocking to pro standards.
Likely best suited to a downhill, power scheme, Curtis has three outstanding traits, mass, power, and length. He plays hard and has the football IQ. Already an older prospect (will be 24 as a rookie), would pro coaching and technique mold him for the step up in competition and find a fit in L.A.?
Rare to see Keeanu Benton get out-leveraged. Solid rep from McClendon Curtis. pic.twitter.com/ZMl3TfVOZ1— Cory (@realcorykinnan) February 2, 2023
Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan - 6’ 5” / 329 lbs. / 10 1/8” hands / 33 7/8” arms / 80 1⁄2 wingspan @ NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
I capsuled Sow back in early February and the only new info is , that being a native of Canada, he is being considered a top ten draft pick in the Canadian football League.
Experienced and well-built lineman who started 54 0f 56 college games and earned post-season accolades in three of four seasons. His play earned him a invite to the NFL Combine. In workouts prior the all-star game, Sow received high marks for his footwork, athleticism, and range.
The kind of mauler that fans love, at 6’ 5” 329 lbs., Sow has the load and the nastiness to bring it. He has good length as well, with 33 7/8” arms and an 80 1/2” wingspan. He is much farther along as a run blocker. He has good get-off, keeps his legs moving to overpower defenders, and enough burst to work double teams and on to the next level.
Against the pass, Sow has a tendency to play too high and bend at the waist, losing proper leverage and balance. This leaves him susceptible to speed and inside counters. His pass blocking shows where a pro strength and conditioning regimen would help his game. You are hard-pressed to bullrush him and overall he stays in good position to pass block, but if the defender gets an advantage, he lacks the quickness for quick recovery.
Watching Sow over a stretch of games, finding where he fits with the Rams is the toughest of all these prospects. If L.A. continues the trend of inside and mid zone schemes with some gap mixed in, then his power and ability to drive defenders out of the hole makes his case, but If run schemes revert to the primarily outside zone, it’s a tougher sell.
Every time I tune into a #EasternMichigan game on the #MACtion slate, #EMU LG Sidy Sow is clearing lanes for his backs to run through. On the first play, gets movement on dbl team, and shoves the linebacker out of the hole.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) November 17, 2021
Later, executes a scoop block to pop a big run. pic.twitter.com/5kTc5o7ikL
Pay your money and take your chances
Could one of these guys become the next Trent Brown? The 49ers star was a Round 7 pick back in 2015. Not likely, but they are good-sized prospects who have developmental traits. If the Rams decide to stay with the status quo of current linemen, the back seats of the offensive line room certainly could use an injection of upgrading/new blood.