For the longest time, fans have been clamoring for the Los Angeles Rams to upgrade the offensive line with more size and muscle. The last time the Rams featured an offensive line with considerable size and strength was in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, with starters: Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Austin Blythe, and Rob Havenstein.
Since that time, Los Angeles has tried to skate by with players that can “position block” as opposed to driving linemen off the line of scrimmage. The selection of Steve Avila signals a commitment to fixing its inconsistent run game woes since 2019 and fortifying the line’s pass protection.
Steve Avila (Info):
Avila was a Redshirt Senior in 2022. He will turn 24 years old in October. At 6’3 1/2” and 332 lbs, Avila possesses a dense frame. At the combine, his frame measured out at 33” arms and a hand size of 9 1/4”. He was voted team captain in his senior year at TCU.
40-yard dash: 5.21
Vertical jump: 29.5”
Broad jump: 8’2”
3-Cone drill: 7.85 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.74
Bench press: 28 reps
Avila played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2019. In 2020, he started nine games while earning honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades. As a junior, Avila was a second-team all-conference pick, starting 11 games at center. In 15 games as a senior, he transitioned to left guard, taking home second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-Big 12 honors. He captained TCU to the FBS Championship Game. He didn’t allow a single sack in 899 snaps in his final season at TCU. The powerful left guard only surrendered eight QB hurries and two QB hits.
Avila figures to compete with Coleman Shelton for the right guard spot along the starting offensive line. Because Los Angeles is committed to a remodel, it would not surprise me to see Avila in the week one lineup. In two-to-three years, we may see Avila transition to center as Brian Allen’s replacement. Avila’s girth and ability to control defensive linemen should allow him to carve out anywhere from 7-10 years in the NFL assuming he stays relatively healthy. Avila is a change of pace from the Rams recent offensive linemen. As a power guard, LA could be trending in the direction of adding more maulers similar to when the team had Rodger Saffold at left guard during McVay’s first two seasons. With Saffold, Sean McVay was able to utilize a balanced attack of Todd Gurley and a drop back passing game.
Despite his 330 lb size, Avila plays with speed and flexibility along the interior line. He uses great technique, finding leverage and using a strong anchor in pass protection. There is a sense of urgency to fire off the snap and drive his blocks. He understands his footwork in pass protection, keeping them moving and mirroring defensive linemen. Avila relies on his lower half to do the talking each rep. He finishes plays with an extra hand drive through defender’s chest.