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Rams activate their rookie offensive tackle from PUP, returning him to practice

Two-time national champion Warren McClendon is ready to go to work

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NFL: MAY 23 Los Angeles Rams OTA
Warren McClendon returns from PUP designation
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams have cleared rookie offensive tackle Warren McClenton to return from the PUP list and to return to the active roster, according to the July 31 NFL transactions page on Pro Football Rumors. McClendon had been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list coming out of OTAs due to knee issue, but the Rams are getting him back right when they need him.

L.A. drafted McClendon out of Georgia in the fifth round and he was three-year starter and two-time NCAA national Champion with the Bulldogs. He was a building block of a Top-5 national offense who used both zone and gap run schemes and he could fit into the Rams plans to rebuild their offensive line for the future.

On July 21, Turf Show Times writer Blaine Grisak pondered if McClendon may actually be the Rams most important draftee.

McClendon is a player that the Rams may look to cross-train early in his career at tackle and guard. This is primarily because McClendon doesn’t bring the same versatility that some other drafted tackles bring. Throughout his college career at Georgia, he played 1800 snaps on the right side, 78 at left tackle, and none on the interior.

The most important thing for the Rams when it comes to McClendon will be figuring out where he fits on the depth chart. Is he someone that can play as a sixth-man, swing-tackle who can fill in inside and outside? Contrarily, is he simply just a right tackle? This is something that the Rams will need to figure out and they will pretty early in training camp.

The L.A. Rams current depth chart at offensive line includes a competition between Joe Noteboom and A.J. Jackson at left tackle, Steve Avila at left guard, a competition between Brian Allen and Coleman Shelton at center, an open competition at right guard that could eventually go to Shelton if he doesn’t win the center position, and Rob Havenstein at right tackle. McClendon would presumably be competing to be Havenstein’s backup and the top swing tackle.

The other offensive tackle on the roster is 2022 seventh round pick A.J. Arcuri.

Back on May 4, I profiled McClendon and felt that what he needed to work on is to get lower to gain leverage, but he can move well for a big man.

Size, length, speed and strength

At 6’4” and 306 lbs., McClendon measures in under the NFL average size for tackles (6’ 5 3/4” 317 lbs.), while his 34 1/2” arms and 82 3/4” wingspan are above the norm.

Technique and footwork

More of a linear player than a change of direction guy, he’s adequate laterally, but much better when moving downhill. He wins as a consummate hustler and worker. He shows pretty good get off, pulls well, climbs to second level, and does well on reach blocks. On the move, he hits the targets he’s after. Gets his hands squared early, keeps them inside and delivers a strong punch. both alternating and two-hands. Sets a good base and versus college competition had a strong anchor, but plays too high at times and loses leverage.

On-field production

Pro Football Focus gives McClendon a career 71.2 grade and has him giving up 21 quarterback hurries, five hits, and only two sacks over 40 starts and 2200 snaps. Almost all of those reps came at right tackle, although in 2022, he logged one snap at right guard and 77 at left tackle. Only committed two penalties around the line as a blocker, but with his aggressive play, did pile up some laundry down field while cleaning up piles. Had a few roughing calls for playing through the whistle— and more.

McClendon is expected to join the team immediately and begin to compete for a backup role with help from new offensive line coach Ryan Wendell.