Snead’s Snacks: Which Interior Offensive Linemen Could the Rams Draft

Rams starting LG Joe Noteboom and C Brian Allen will be returning from significant injuries, so Les would be wise to stockpile talent in the interior OL. But, what are the traits he looks for in an iOL?

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The Los Angeles Rams enter a crucial year when it comes to the NFL draft. With limited cap space (and limited draft picks for that matter), it’s going to be more important than ever to build depth through the draft and than means hitting on the majority of their picks.

As a new series on Downtown Rams, we’re going to start “Snead’s Snacks”. In other words, we’re going to find and look at common themes and traits of previous Les Snead draft picks and see which players in the upcoming NFL Draft fit the mold for the Rams. The focus for today’s edition of “Snead’s Snacks” will be on one of the Rams’ biggest positions of need, the interior of the offensive line. That’s guard and center, two positions that have been in flux the past season.

The Brian Allen and Joseph Noteboom experiment did not begin well in 2019. It wasn’t until Austin Blythe moved to center and David Edwards moved inside to guard that the team was able to find some sort of consistency. The Rams will most likely look to address the position, the only question is, how early and how often?

As we know, the Rams don’t have a selection in the first round. This most likely will take stud players like Cesar Ruiz out of consideration and possibly even Tyler Biadasz from Wisconsin. However, to start, let’s look at Snead’s history of drafting players on the inside.

Notable Past Rams Drafted Players

Rokevious Watkins, G, South Carolina – 5th Round

Size: 6’3, 338,

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 34-5/8
20-yard shuffle: 4.9 sec
Broad Jump: 102 inches
3-cone: 7.87 sec
40-yard dash: 5.39 sec
Vertical: 27 inches

Overview of Pick

Rokevious Watkins was a fifth-round selection in Snead’s first draft with the Rams back in 2012. He was a big-bodied blocker who could work well in the run game and was very athletic with the ability to get upfield and work in space at the second level. Watkins was a tackle with the Gamecocks but moved inside at the NFL level with mixed success.

Barrett Jones, C/G, Alabama – 4th Round

Size: 6’4, 308

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 34-1/8
20-yard shuffle: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
3-cone: N/A
40-yard dash: N/A
Vertical: N/A

Overview of Pick

Barrett Jones was seen as a potential steal for the Rams in the fourth round in 2013. He was a versatile player at Alabama with experience at all five positions. Jones was seen as a smart player with limited strength and athleticism.

Demetrius Rhaney, C, Tennessee State – 7th Round

Size: 6’1, 301

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 32
20-yard shuffle: 4.22
Broad Jump: 110 inches
3-cone: 7.59 sec
40-yard dash: 4.90
Vertical: 29 inches

Overview of Pick

Rhaney was the final pick for the Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was a quick player and efficient when moving up to the second level.

Jamon Brown, T, Louisville – 3rd Round

Size: 6’4, 323

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 34-3/8
20-yard shuffle: 4.61
Broad Jump: 103 inches
3-cone: N/A
40-yard dash: 5.08
Vertical: 28 inches

Overview of Pick

Brown was a part of a revamp for the Rams offensive line in 2015. The team took Rob Havenstein and with the next pick, they selected Brown with the plan to move him inside to guard. Brown had experience at both guard and tackle and was an effective mover in space, specifically on inside zone plays. His biggest weaknesses were his ability to process as well as his lack of power in his game. Best suited for a power-blocking scheme.

Cody Wichmann, G, Fresno St. – 6th Round

Size: 6’6, 315

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 33
20-yard shuffle: 4.75
Broad Jump: 106 inches
40-yard dash: 4.98
3-cone: N/A
Vertical: 27 inches

Overview of Pick

Wichmann was the fourth of four offensive linemen that the Rams selected in 2015. He had a thick frame but was a below-average athlete. Best suited for a power-blocking scheme.

Brian Allen, C, Michigan St. – 4th Round

Size: 6’1, 298

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 32-3/8
20-yard shuffle: 4.71
Broad Jump: 99 inches
40-yard dash: 5.34
3-cone: 7.81
Vertical: 26.5 inches

Overview of Pick

Allen was a physical player but lacked athleticism with playing experience at both guard and center. While seen as more of a late-round pick or priority free-agent, the Rams took him in the fourth round in hopes of him developing into the Center of the Future.

Jamil Demby, G, Maine – 6th Round

Size: 6’5, 319

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 33-3/4
20-yard shuffle: 4.95
Broad Jump: 98 inches
40-yard dash: 5.58
3-cone: 7.86
Vertical: 23.5 inches

Overview of Pick

Re-build the offensive line take two…After the Rams revamped the offensive line in 2015, they went for it again to get some depth in 2018. Demby is a well-built, strong tackle, but projected best as a guard at the NFL level. He was a solid run-blocker with good vision to get to the second level. With that said, he had some inconsistencies within his game, starting with his hands and level of competition.

Common Traits Rams Look For

Here are the common traits that can help us build a rough mold of what Snead might look for in rookie interior offensive linemen:

  • Snead values versatility. Watkins, Jones, Brown, Allen, and Demby all had experience at other positions whether it be another position on the inside or even outside at tackle.
  • The Rams like players who work well in space and work well in the run game. Most of the players the Rams have taken on the interior have their best moments as run-blocking prospects.
  • They don’t necessarily value athleticism. Jones, Wichmann, and Allen all were considered to have below-average athleticism and for that to be a weakness in their games.
  • I’m not sure how much Snead and the Rams look at measurables. There are a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to size. Some guys are 6’6 while others are shorter at 6’1. Players like Brown were all the way up at 323 pounds while Allen is sub-300. Snead has been the GM over two regimes, and ever since McVay has been with the Rams, there are inconsistencies. The one trait that could maybe be seen as consistent is arm length. Every player except for Allen and Rhaney (a 7th round pick) had arms longer than 33-inches and Brown, Jones, and Watkins each had arms over 34-inches and Demby was 1/4 inch away from the mark at 33-3/4.
  • Teams don’t necessarily look at a school when it comes to a prospect, but when it comes to the Rams offensive line, you tend to see players from the Big-10 and SEC.
  • The Rams, when it comes to the offensive line in general but specifically on the interior, tend to wait. Jamon Brown (3rd round) is the earliest Snead has taken an interior player, and even then, it’s not like it was with an early day-2 pick. Snead tends to wait until day three. Will that be the case in a year when the Rams so desperately need someone? That’s to be determined. However, that was the case last year and the Rams decided to pass on higher-end prospects like Dalton Risner and Erik McCoy at the end of the first round and early in the second. Instead, they traded back and ended up with Bobby Evans and David Edwards later on.

2020 Players Who Fit the Rams

Because the Rams don’t select until No. 52 overall (and there’s no guarantee they will), it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to look at players ranked inside the consensus top-25 or 30. And even then, while I would like to think the Rams would take a stud iOL in Cesar Ruiz, I’m just not sure they would take him with the 52nd overall pick. The guys that I’ll be looking at are going to be players that the Rams can get late on day two and mostly day three as that has been Snead’s tendency.

With the Rams’ focus on versatility, I also believe that knocks out a player like Tyler Biadasz from Wisconsin, who started all 41 of his games at center. The Rams’ current projected center, Brian Allen, started at three different positions as a junior at Michigan State, and current RG Austin Blythe has the ability to play both as well. When looking at Jones, he obviously had experience at all five positions but battled a ton of injuries.

1) Hakeem Adeniji, T, Kansas

Adeniji is listed as a tackle, but at 6’4, 302 he is slightly undersized and might be more suited to play inside. The Rams have done this with tackles in the past. Look at Jamon Brown, David Edwards, and Joseph Noteboom as prime examples.

Like other players on this list, Adeniji has good overall mobility and length and is an effective worker in space. He’s also been much more effective as a run-blocker at Kansas with the Jayhawks. All traits that were consistent with the players listed above.

The Rams love players who are versatile and Adeniji, as Nagy says, is one of the most versatile offensive linemen in this draft. It’s also worth noting that he participated in the Senior Bowl, a place Snead has mined with success in recent years. If I had to take a stab at one offensive lineman that Snead will draft come April, it would be Adeniji.

Projection: 4th-5th round

2) Matthew Peart, T, UConn

Yes, another tackle on our list, but he fits what the Rams value most and that’s versatility. He’s a bit on the larger side, standing at 6’7 but he has starting experience at both guard and tackle. Like others on this list, he quickly gets to the second level and brings a nastiness to the run game. Along with Adeniji, he was a participant at the Senior Bowl, but as an added bonus, he met with the Rams.

Maybe Peart comes in and initially plays tackle for the Rams. However, Snead and Co. seem to at least like to have the option of versatility. Peart took snaps on the left and ride side at tackle during the Senior Bowl and has that starting experience inside at guard. That’s going to be something the Rams, and OL coach Aaron Kromer, value a lot.

Projection: 4th-6th round

3) Nick Harris, G/C, Washington

Harris is great at creating space and is dynamic at the second level. However, more importantly, he’s a three-year starter with experience at both guard and center. He’s much more athletic than the Rams tend to draft, but his ability in space in McVay’s zone-blocking run scheme is a match made in heaven.

The Washington offensive lineman is most likely someone that the Rams would have to take in the second round with that 52nd overall pick. My only concern here is that he’s a projected top-65 pick and Snead just hasn’t shown interest in taking a center that high.

Projection: 2nd-3rd round

4) Darryl Williams, G/C, Mississippi St.

An experienced starter with playing time at both guard and center, Williams again possesses that versatility that Snead values. While I have definitely focused on that versatility aspect, the fact is, that is a very common trait when it comes to the Rams offensive line. They like players that can play multiple positions. That helps significantly when you’re looking to replace players during injuries in cases such as last year; guys need to be able to step in and immediately perform. Having an Evans that can play guard and tackle or Blythe that can play center and guard is extremely valuable.

Williams isn’t the best athlete, but he has a large frame and is the first player in this list to come from Snead’s favorite conference – the SEC.

Projection: 6th-7th 

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