This article could start with a joke about the late rounds being the sweet spot for where the Los Angeles Rams spend their offensive line draft capital. But it cuts too close to home. Of the current nine linemen under contract, five were drafted in Round 6, 7, and the undrafted ranks (55.55%). In the Les Snead/Sean McVay era, that number jumps to nine of 12 additions (75%).
The good news is that there are good looking prospects that will be available later in the draft. Let’s get acquainted with a few. For more context check out the first two parts of the series:
Tyler Steen, Alabama - 6’ 6” / 321 lbs. / 10 1/2” hands / 32 3/4” arms @ NFL Combine (6.13, #129)
Logged starts in his last 46 games at the SEC level, 13 at ‘Bama after transferring from Vanderbilt. Better at pass blocking than run support, but is certainly not a liability. He mirrors rushers well and uses his hands under control. Needs to show more patience in the run, has tendency to reach. He appears to be a solid, reliable player with a high floor and limited ceiling.
Jordan McFadden, Clemson - 6’ 2” / 303 lbs. / 9 1/2” hands / 34” arms @ NFL Combine (6.17, #112)
23 years old. Three-year starter (39) with almost 3000 ACC snaps between the two tackle spots. His lack of size almost assures a move inside for the pro game. Thick, blocky frame and appears to have solid fundamentals. Good lower body for drive blocking and upper body strength for turning defenders out of gaps. In both the pass and run, must concentrate to keep knees bent and hands low at the pro level. He will need to accentuate his natural leverage. Solid pass protector who knows how to use his length.
The most underrated OL prospect in the #NFLDraft2023 is Jordan McFadden (6'2 303lbs 34"arms) from Clemson, played LT but frame projects to OG— Gauche (@GaucheArt2) March 6, 2023
Plus athlete w/ heavy hands and a great anchor. If you need a guy who can work double teams and climb McFadden is the guy. Day 2 player pic.twitter.com/TZk99DMMpg
Warren McClendon, Georgia - 6’ 4” / 306 lbs. / 10” hands / 34 1/2” arms @ NFL Combine (6.00, #158)
22 year-old, three year starter (38 games) for Georgia. Technically sound and max effort player with a high floor. Needs some mass for the pro game, but he’s not soft, he plays a physical game, not finesse. He moves well enough for an outside zone game as well as the second level and he appears to hit what he aims at. In pass pro, he uses his length well and mirrors inside counters well. His size and a tendency to play too upright will leave him at a disadvantage against the bullrush and speed to power in the NFL.
Richard Gouriage, Florida - 6’ 5” / 306 lbs. / 10” hands / 34” hands @ NFL Combine (6.10, #141)
Dependable and experienced SEC blocker with 42 starts out of 47 games. Brings left side tackle/guard versatility. The sum of his game is better than the individual parts. Not great athleticism, but moves well laterally to get reach and seal blocks. Not a great striker in space. Good pass blocker with wide base, firm anchor and gets vertical to counter speed rushers. Effective film against top college competition. Had strong Senior Bowl workouts and Pro Football Focus graded him as the best offensive lineman in that game.
Ryan Hayes, Michigan - 6’ 6” / 298 lbs. / 10” / 32 1/2” arms @ NFL Combine (5.90, #208)
Athletic, competitive, and mobile. Two-year starter on arguably college football’s best team. Just turned 23. Adept at both pass and run blocking. Keeps feet moving to sustain and drive. Smoothly pulls and/or gets to next level and strikes well when he gets there. Generally a solid pass blocker, but can play a little high and struggles with his anchor. Good player, but a bit of a tweener. Doesn’t have the usual length of NFL tackles nor the compact mass of guards.
LT Ryan Hayes casually driving the edge defender out of the frame! pic.twitter.com/W7iah8Kx4a— Full-Time Dame (@DP_NFL) January 5, 2022
Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion - 6’ 6” / 318 lbs. / 10 1/4” hands / 33 1/4” arms @ NFL Combine (6.10, #140)
35 starts in three seasons, predominantly at right tackle, but with a few games and one start at guard. Appears to have the move skills and footwork to get where he needs to be. Shows promise as a pass protector with wide base, choppy steps, and a patient punch. I prefer my small school guys to be dominant against lesser competition and Saldiveri ws solid not overpowering.
Jackson Kirkland, Washington - 6’ 7” / 321 lbs. / 10 12” / 33 1/2” arms @ NFL Combine (5.95, #180)
The good news is he is a 2022 All-American with multiple start at both tackle and guard. The Bad news is he’ll turn 25 at the start of training camp and has missed multiple games to injuries over his six years at Washington. There is so much to like about his game, but a lack of play strength has him on the draft bubble. His legs actually look skinny on film. He has good technique and keeps his knees bent, shows good punch and hand work, and anticipates and reacts well to pass rushers. But without lower body work it’s a question whether he can stand up to NFL speed to power and bullrush.
It all depends on what you expect or in the Rams case, need, from your late round picks. According to their NFL.com grade, McFadden and Steen are high value targets. Likely not long-term plug-and-play cornerstones, but their film shows that both have the versatility and chops to take on an early swing role. Bringing it closer to home, McFadden’s film is head and shoulders better than that of Tremayne Anchrum (Rd.7, 2020) or David Edwards (Rd.5, 2019). To a lesser extent, McClendon seems another solid addition. It’s hard to overlook his college pedigree of being the starting left tackle for two national titles and holding on to the starting role for three years, considering the depth of Georgia’s roster and their constant influx of top recruits.
Of the others, it depends on which of their traits you covet, or on the other hand, if their weak spots are inherent or solvable. I have to be honest, on my board there are at least 10 players whose scores are so close that their draft fortunes could fluctuate anywhere between Round 6 and undrafted free agent. It’s a tough sell down on the draft bubble.