2017-Present - McVay's run

Depleted Rams OL needs life support

(Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire, AP) USC Trojans offensive lineman Austin Jackson pass protects during a college football game against the UCLA Bruins.

There are no right or wrong answers to the Los Angeles Rams’ needs heading into this offseason. If a poll were taken today, one could bet the house the results would not have any more than a five-percentage point difference on what Rams fans think is needed.

The team heads into this crucial part of the NFL season with little to work with regarding salary cap (see: If the Cap Fits), draft picks and all while dealing with free agent woes.

The Rams opted for a “win-now” approach and went for the jugular by offering their next two first-round picks in the trade for CB Jalen Ramsey. Los Angeles doesn’t have a first or fifth round pick. They currently have six draft picks after receiving a third round compensatory pick for the loss of Rodger Saffold. They didn’t receive anything for Lamarcus Joyner since they signed Clay Matthews last offseason.

Siding with those who believe the offensive line is the most glaring need, it is reasonable to believe that whomever the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends are in 2020, they along with franchise quarterback Jared Goff, are going to need protection. The offensive line needs to open up more holes if they want to return to their 2018 form.

Staying clear of the free agent market for now, the NFL Draft, scheduled for Thursday, April 23 through April 25 in Las Vegas, provides plenty of help for teams needing offensive linemen.

With Sean McVay, Les Snead and their new coaching staff needing to make an impact instantly, they first must make some decisions on the line of scrimmage before even addressing the replacements. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, 38, is an unrestricted free agent. He wants to return to the team in 2020 and potentially the following season.

Even if Whitworth returns, he probably only signs a one-year contract with the team and uses that time to help develop a to-be-determined new offensive tackle.

Center Austin Blythe is versatile, but had surgery on both shoulders in January, and had a nagging ankle injury for much of the 2019 season. He becomes a free agent soon and could be in another uniform next season.

Rob Havenstein, Chandler Brewer and Bobby Evans are around to handle OT in 2020. While Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Jeremiah Kolone and Nate Trewyn all could provide line help at center. Guards already in the fold could include Austin Corbett, Joseph Noteboom and David Edwards.

The 2020 NFL Draft is chalk full of offensive linemen. However, some fans voice their opinion that another edge rusher is needed on defense. It’s is a good penny to throw into a wishing well, but the offense is truly the weak link at this point.

Anything can happen in an NFL Draft, where players rise and fall fluidly. There would be no harm in using the picks in the second and third rounds to go get an offensive tackle.

Some players that might be on the board at those picks include:

  1. Austin Jackson, USC                          6’5″      322 pounds
  2. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia                       6’7″      350 pounds
  3. Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn        6’5″      310 pounds
  4. Ben Bredeson, Michigan                   6’5″       315 pounds
  5. Jonah Jackson, Ohio St.                    6’4″       306 pounds
  6. Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon         6’5″       317 pounds

When the NFL Draft begins, all bets will be off. It would not at all be difficult to understand if the Rams’ brass decides to grab a run stuffer on defense, an edge rusher, a talented outside linebacker or even a quarterback in the seventh round.

We will get a better idea of the Rams’ draft strategy once free agency begins. So stay tuned folks.

Source: Sports-reference.com

You can follow Bob Smith on Twitter @amoresports. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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