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PFF still ranks Rams offensive line among worst groups heading into 2023

PFF ranks Rams offensive line 28th heading into the season

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Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

One of the more anticipated position groups on the Los Angeles Rams roster is the offensive line. Following a porous 2022 in which the offensive line was decimated by injury, the hope is that if they can stay healthy, they will perform better in 2023.

However, for the most part, this is still the same group that struggled before injuries last season. The Rams did add Steve Avila with the 36th overall pick, but he is the only major change that the team made on the offensive line this offseason.

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus ranked every team’s offensive line heading into the 2023 NFL season. Monson ranked the Rams 28th and had a few things to say. To start, here was his projected starting lineup.

  • LT Joseph Noteboom
  • LG Steve Avila – Rookie
  • C Brian Allen
  • RG Coleman Shelton – Played mostly C in 2022
  • RT Rob Havenstein

That's a fair starting lineup and it’s one that wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams roll out in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. However, as it stands, nobody really knows exactly where the Rams are leaning when it comes to their starting five.

Still, the biggest question there will be Joseph Noteboom starting at left tackle. Noteboom is coming off of a torn achilles following a season in which it became very apparent how much the Rams were going to miss Andrew Whitworth. Monson raised concerns about Noteboom as well,

“Joseph Noteboom is under pressure to prove he can be a high-end starter at left tackle after injury robbed him of most of last season. Noteboom allowed five sacks in six games, but three of them came in the opener against Buffalo and the other two against Nick Bosa.”

There was speculation that the Rams may move on from Noteboom just one season after signing an extension. Instead, the Rams restructured their left tackle, essentially committing to him through the 2024 season. Does he play tackle or move inside to guard? There are nothing but questions when it comes to Noteboom.

The most important thing for the Rams offensive line is staying healthy and it can’t get much worse that 2022. Noteboom is a big part of that. In the two seasons that he’s entered the year as a starter, Noteboom has gotten hurt within the first six weeks. That doesn’t bode well for a position group that is heavily dependent on cohesion and consistency. Said Monson,

“The Rams’ line completely fell apart in 2022. Ten different linemen surrendered sacks, but the unit did slowly pull itself together late in the year.”

Despite chaos all season, the one consistent piece on the Rams offensive line remained Rob Havenstein. Havenstein is arguably one of the more underrated right tackles in the NFL. He may not be among the elite, but he’s always solid on the right side. This is a young group heading into 2023 and it will be up to Havenstein to be that rock and veteran presence that they can lean on.

PFF’s Sam Monson called Havenstein the Rams’ best player on the offensive line, saying,

“The only member of the line to play more than 750 snaps, Rob Havenstein was the best player remaining from a previously good group. He allowed six sacks and garnered eight penalties at right tackle.”

The number 28 ranking may seem low and it’s a significant drop-off from where PFF had them ranked this time last year. Following Whitworth’s departure, PFF still ranked the Rams 11th in the NFL. They finished the season ranked 25th.

While the Rams added one of the top guards in the NFL Draft in Avila, they still managed to fall down three spots.

It’s worth noting that after 2019 in which the Rams had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, PFF ranked them 25th heading into 2020. Los Angeles exceeded expectations and finished third as Austin Corbett and David Edwards both improved. Much of the same can be said about 2017. The Rams offensive line was ranked 18th after a bad 2016 season. They ended up finishing sixth.

Is the current group capable of that level of improvement?

This is where the anticipation and anxiousness to see this group in action stems from entering the season. Not only do we not know who the starting five will be, but when they are all put together, what is the potential of this group? Do the Rams have players outside of Avila that can exceed expectations and raise the level?

Entering 2023, PFF’s number 28 ranking for the Rams offensive line is more than fair. Much like most position groups on the roster, the Rams offensive line will have a lot to prove this season.