The Los Angeles Rams took a calculated risk this offseason when they allowed Rodger Saffold to walk in free agency. Playing in his footsteps will be the second-year player out of TCU, Joseph Noteboom.
Noteboom had a good preseason as a rookie and played well under a small sample size. Because of that, he gave the Rams confidence that he could one day take over. However, they also lost one of the most stable pieces on the offensive line.
In the NFL, everything starts upfront. It’s the improvement of the offensive line that has been a large reason for the team’s turnaround. Up next in our roster preview series is Joseph Noteboom.
After being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, many expected that Noteboom would be the heir apparent to Andrew Whitworth. The rookie out of TCU impressed in the preseason, not allowing a single pressure. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 12th best tackle in pass protection in the preseason.
With another healthy year on the offensive line, Noteboom only played 79 snaps during the regular season, 63 of which came at left tackle. He played 15 combined snaps at left and right guard.
Again, Noteboom didn’t allow a single pressure in the regular season and his 88.3 grade in pass protection according to Pro Football Focus ranked third. In fact, Noteboom was the only tackle last season to play more than 50 snaps and not allow a single pressure.
Despite getting most of his action at tackle, the Rams will move him inside to guard due to the departure of Saffold.
Joseph Noteboom will the team’s starter at left guard. There won’t be a competition here. It would take something drastic for Noteboom to lose his starting role.
Three Plays on Tape
Joseph Noteboom (LT) is going to make one team very lucky to get him L Round 3/ Round 4. Little bit odd footwork here, but look at the quickness as he easily stays in front of Okoronkwo. #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/6itE8SE45d
— Bradley Ylitalo (@bradleyylitalo) April 8, 2018
We’ll get into Noteboom’s film from last season, but this in the Rams offensive lineman going up against Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – his current teammate. Noteboom does a good job of mirroring the defender and staying in front. Okoronkwo tries to bull rush Noteboom who is up for the challenge.
This next play comes from Week 17 last season. Noteboom is in for Andrew Whitworth at this point in the game. This play shows off the athleticism of Noteboom. He manages to make his way to the numbers to seal off the cornerback. It’s because of that, Brandin Cooks is able to score. If Noteboom doesn’t get there in time to make this block, this is a play that goes nowhere.
This play comes against Houston’s Brennan Scarlett, and Noteboom dominates from the get-go. Noteboom did this all game, not matter what Scarlett attempted. Whether it was a bull rush or spin move, Noteboom was ready. This play comes off of play-action which takes longer to develop and Noteboom gives up nothing.
Will Joseph Noteboom transfer to guard?
Noteboom played 15 snaps last season at guard and was drafted as a tackle and potential replacement for Whitworth. Now with Whitworth staying and Saffold gone, he will move to guard.
Whether the Rams anticipated Whitworth retiring and Saffold staying is uncertain. However, the potential plan changed and the Rams were forced to adjust.
The transition to the inside or visa-versa is not as smooth as fans think. Noteboom will benefit from playing next to Whitworth, but there may be some early bumps. Going from Saffold to Noteboom won’t go unnoticed. When a team moves on from one of the most steady players at the position and replaces him with a player that doesn’t have a lot of experience, there will be a difference. However, given his small sample size, Noteboom should be able to develop into a solid starter.
2019 Outlook and Role
Noteboom will be the starting left guard for the Los Angeles Rams. The team groomed and red-shirted him last year to prepare him to start. The Rams have one of the best offensive line coaches in the league in Aaron Kromer and Noteboom is mentored by one of the best in Andrew Whitworth. It may take time, but the second-year player was drafted in an ideal situation.
If Noteboom can prove that the Rams risk to move on from Saffold was worth it, it will have been a successful 2019. However, with the lack of experience, there is an obvious reason for concern.
The former Horned Frog played well in a small sample size at a different position in his rookie year. He will need to prove that he can perform at that level over a 16-game season.
Chances of Making the Final Roster
There is no chance that Noteboom doesn’t make the final roster. The Rams didn’t match Saffold’s offer with the Titans in large part because they had Noteboom waiting. He’ll get his opportunity to start and prove what he can do on the field.