With the 36th overall pick in the 2023 the NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams have selected guard Steve Avila out of TCU. This is the earliest pick made by the Rams in any draft since picking Jared Goff first overall in 2016 and it is the earliest that Les Snead has picked an offensive lineman since picking Greg Robinson second overall in 2014.
Avila is the first guard drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft, presuming that Peter Skoronski stays at tackle.
This should be a great move for the Rams as they just need to add good players at any position and Avila has a high floor and the odds of him being a cornerstone of L.A.’s offensive line are relatively great. Avila is 6’3, 332 lbs, 33” arms and above-average athleticism.
He was one of the best players on TCU’s surprising team that reached the national championship game and he now fortifies the inside of the L.A. Rams offensive line. Last year, the Rams first pick was guard Logan Bruss out of Wisconsin, but he went outside of the top-100 picks and then missed his entire rookie season. With Avila and Bruss teaming up with Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, and Tremayne Anchrum, the Rams may yet have a decent interior offensive line for Matthew Stafford.
If Rob Havenstein and Joe Noteboom are healthy, the offensive line may not be bad.
Here is Ferragamo’s draft profile on Avila, a must-read for Rams fans:
My NFL comp for Avila was a player ranked by Lance Zierlein as the 2nd best guard in the 2015 NFL draft. In that draft, Brandon Scherff was the 5th overall pick in the draft. Scherff was a monster playing LT at Iowa, a nasty bully who crushed defenders with immense power and bad intentions. He was ranked 12th overall on LZ’s board. The 2nd best guard was ranked 16th overall, with a grade only slightly behind Scherff’s draft grade. This prospect was considered to be a powerful drive blocker, suited for a power scheme and an instant plug and play NFL starter. He had a thick frame, wide base, upper body strength, a natural knee bender, rarely bull rushed, but with only average arm length and some technique issues in pass blocking.
Most draft boards ranked this prospect as a 2nd round pick. B/R compared him to TJ Lang. Big Blue View said he was similar to Larry Warford. In Matt Miller’s final mock draft, he had the Rams drafting this player instead of Jamon Brown. Very recently, this player made NFL news on the eve of free agency. Did he turn out to be a better NFL player than Brandon Scherff?
Consequently, I feel that the Rams drafting Avila 36th overall would be a risky pick. You’d be drafting a player who is raw and needs additional development, gambling on the upside that as he progresses he’ll turn into a high quality starter. I can see doing that for a premium position like QB, WR, outside CB and EDGE, but we’re talking about drafting a raw interior OL prospect. In my opinion, that is too early to draft someone who fits that profile. That is why I have Avila with only a middle round grade. If Avila is still available later in the draft, he could be worth considering, but I wouldn’t reach for him too early for the Rams.
Rams 2023 draft results:
2.36 - iOL Steve Avila, TCU
3.77 - EDGE Byron Young, Tennessee
3.89 - DL Kobie Turner, Wake Forest
4.128 - QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia
5.161 - EDGE Nick Hampton, Appalachian State
5.174 - OT Warren McClendon, Georgia
5.175 - TE Davis Allen, Clemson
5.177 - WR Puka Nacua, BYU
6.182 - CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU