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2020 positional preview: Centers

Photo credit: Therams.com.

Center is an interesting position for the Los Angeles Rams entering the 2020 season. In 2019, Brian Allen was named the starter, but was replaced by Austin Blythe after sustaining a season-ending injury. It isn’t clear who will be the starter, but Allen will most likely need to earn the position back from Blythe.

Thanks to head coach Sean McVay’s philosophy of versatility, we can expect other linemen training to learn the center position too. As we witnessed last season, injuries are an unfortunate part of football. So expect guys like Tremayne Anchrum and Austin Corbett to at least take a few snaps just in case. Though, Corbett will likely spend more time at guard.

Austin Blythe: Possible Starter

Blythe initially began as a guard in the 2019 season. After Allen’s injury, he shifted over to center and remained there for the remainder of the season. In truth, Blythe struggled at guard, which is a bit surprising considering the success he saw in 2018. He performed a little better as the team’s center, though, he was far from flawless.

At this point, the Rams don’t have a ton of options, but Blythe did a decent job for the most part. Since Blythe was a more effective center than a guard, it’s likely the Rams will try to keep him there at the center position. That said, we can expect Allen to be competing hard to become the starter again.

Brian Allen: Possible Starter

Despite being the starter at the beginning of the season, Allen wasn’t all that impressive during the nine games he did participate in. To be fair, it was Allen’s first year starting, but Blythe is an experienced veteran that did perform better than Allen. Still, McVay did seem to have a lot of confidence in Allen’s ability, and that does count for something.

Allen will need to come back fully healthy and ready to play. If he can adapt quickly, he may be able to snag the starting role from Blythe.

Coleman Shelton: Backup

The Rams immediately picked up Shelton when the Arizona Cardinals cut him right before the 2019 season began. He’s a good-sized center, standing at 6’5″ and weighing about 300 pounds. Shelton played little during the regular season, and was good enough to stay on the active roster for most of the season. If he continues to develop, he could see more playing time in 2020.

Nate Trewyn: Practice Squad

Trewyn was an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin-Whitewater and was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent some time on the active roster and practice squad before finally being cut. The Rams stepped in and signed him to the practice squad and played a role their ever since. Trewyn will need to show some major improvement to be able to crack the roster.

Tremayne Anchrum: Backup Center/Guard

Despite playing tackle at Clemson, Anchrum is too undersized at the NFL level to continue at that position. It isn’t clear where the Rams will place him, but knowing McVay, he will likely cross-train him in the interior of the offensive line. If he adapts quickly at both positions, he will likely keep a spot on the active roster. If the learning curve is difficult to grasp initially, he may begin the year on the practice squad.

Cohl Cabral: Practice Squad

Cabral technically has experience at center and tackle while playing at ASU. He’s at a good size standing at 6’5″ and weighing about 290 pounds. Because of his size and versatility, he’s is the type of lineman that McVay values. If he shows promise early on, he might have a spot on the active roster. It will be tough though since the majority of last year’s offensive linemen have remained on the roster.

2020 Expectations

Not too many new faces, so we should expect some familiar faces starting and having a reserved role. If Allen is healthy, there should be a strong competition between him and Blythe. Another possibility is having both Allen and Blythe cross-train for guard just in case. While the quality is debatable, the Rams are set in regards to having plenty of options at center and across the offensive line.

You can follow Johnny Gomez on Twitter @Johnny5not6. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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