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Offensive Lines

Los Angeles Rams

Team will need to get by with modest OL talent

Working on the offensive line story for the magazine, I think I've identified an area of concern for the Rams repeating as Super Bowl champs. The line protecting Matthew Stafford definitely won't be as good.

Andrew Whitworth retired; even at age 40 he was one of the league's better left tackles. Austin Corbett departed in free agency, so that's two starters gone. They'll be replaced by backups and younger guys the team hopes can step up, plus longtime starter Rob Havenstein (pictured) at right tackle, but it remains to be seen how it will all work out.

The NFL Draft is yet to come, but the Rams haven't selected a player in the first round since 2016 and won't have a selection in the top 100 picks this year; their earliest choice is a compensatory selection at the end of Round 3. So if they're going to find a future starter in the draft, they'll need to hope they can hit on a modest pick.

As things currently stand (and will after the draft, too), no team will take the field with fewer premium picks along the line than Los Angeles. Looking at the five projected starters for each NFL team, the Rams are one of only seven teams that will be operating without a former first-round pick on the field, and one of only seven with just a single first- or second-rounder in the lineup. That's not the end-all and be-all (the Chargers and Kansas City both look to have above-average lines with just a single first- or second-rounder starting) but most of the teams thinnest in this regard should have lesser lines. And the Rams definitely won't be drafting anyone early this season.

Table shows the number of first- and second-round picks among the projected five starters (right now) for each team, sorted by totals of those premium picks.

OFFENSIVE LINES
Team1sts2ndsTot
San Francisco314
New Orleans314
Arizona224
Cleveland224
Minnesota224
NY Jets303
Detroit303
Atlanta303
Denver213
Indianapolis213
Houston213
Tampa Bay123
Jacksonville123
Buffalo033
Miami033
Dallas202
Baltimore202
Las Vegas202
Philadelphia112
Washington112
Carolina112
Tennessee112
Cincinnati112
Green Bay022
Chicago022
New England101
LA Chargers101
NY Giants101
Seattle101
Kansas City011
LA Rams011
Pittsburgh011

Pittsburgh, Kansas City and the Giants, the latter two of whom have multiple first-rounders, look like good candidates to improve their lines on the opening night of the draft. The Rams? Well, they'll hope Joseph Noteboom can adequately replace Whitworth, and that Bobby Evans can step in for Corbett. Maybe someone will come available on the market or at the cost of a low-round draft pick. In any case, looks like an area of concern at the moment.

--Andy Richardson

Fantasy Index