Snead’s Snacks: Who Could The Rams Draft at Center?

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams enter a crucial year when it comes to the NFL draft. With limited draft picks, it’s going to be more important than ever to build depth through the draft and that means hitting on the majority of their selections.

As a running series on Downtown Rams, we’ve been writing 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 center position.

The Brian Allen experiment didn’t go well in 2019 and the Rams lost Austin Blythe in free agency. While the Rams do have Austin Corbett and they could play him at center, adding a rookie to add as depth or potentially start would be ideal.

As we know, the Rams don’t have a selection in the first round. This most likely will take stud players like Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma. 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-lbs

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 34.675 inches
20-yard shuttle: 4.9 sec
Broad Jump: 10.02 feet
3-cone: 7.87 sec
40-yard dash: 5.39 sec
Vertical: 27 inches

RAS: 3.03 – Poor
Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Very Poor
Agility Grade: Okay
Explosive Grade: Poor

Traits:

  • Big, physical player
  • Good, strong base
  • Not an elite athlete

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-lbs

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

RAS: N/A
Size Grade: Great
Agility Grade: N/A
Explosive Grade: N/A

Traits:

  • Versatile
  • Not an elite athlete
  • Good technician

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-lbs

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 32 inches
20-yard shuttle: 4.22 sec
Broad Jump: 11 feet
3-cone: 7.59 sec
40-yard dash: 4.90 sec
Vertical: 29 inches

RAS: 9.16
Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Elite
Agility Grade: Great
Explosive Grade: Great

Traits:

  • Quick feet
  • Not a dominant athlete

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.

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

Size: 6’6, 315-lbs

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 33 inches
20-yard shuttle: 4.75 sec
Broad Jump: 10.06 feet
40-yard dash: 4.98 sec
3-cone: N/A
Vertical: 27 inches

RAS: 9.39
Size Grade: Great
Speed Grade: Good
Agility Grade: Elite
Explosive Grade: Good

Traits: 

  • Lacks elite athleticism
  • Versatile on the interior

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-lbs

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 32.375
20-yard shuttle: 4.71
Broad Jump: 9.09 feet
40-yard dash: 5.34 sec
3-cone: 7.81 sec
Vertical: 26.5 inches

RAS: 4.08
Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Poor
Agility Grade: Okay
Explosive Grade: Okay

Traits:

  • Versatile
  • Doesn’t have elite athleticism
  • Competitor

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-lbs

Measurables: 
Arm Length: 33.75 inches
20-yard shuffle: 4.95 sec
Broad Jump: 9.08 inches
40-yard dash: 5.58 sec
3-cone: 7.86 sec
Vertical: 23.5 inches

RAS: 2.25
Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Poor
Agility Grade: Very Poor
Explosive Grade: Poor

Traits:

  • Quick feet
  • Versatile

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.

Notable Past Rams Undrafted Players

Tim Barnes, Missouri

Size: 6’3, 300-lbs

Measurables
Arm Length: N/A
20-yard shuttle: 4.42 sec
Broad Jump: 8.07 feet
40-yard dash: 5.17 sec
3-cone: 7.19
Vertical: 31.5

RAS: 8.79
Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Good
Agility Grade: Good
Explosive Grade: Elite

Traits:

  • Quick Feet
  • Versatile

Austin Blythe, Iowa

Size: 6’2, 298-lbs

Measurables
Arm Length: 30.25 inches
20-yard shuttle: 4.22 sec
Broad Jump: 8.03 feet
40-yard dash: 5.36 sec
3-cone: 7.52 sec
Vertical: 27.5 inches

RAS: 5.76
Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Okay
Agility Grade: Okay
Explosive Grade: Good

Traits:

  • Four-year starter
  • Not physically athletic
  • Good technician
  • Quick Feet
  • Versatile

Coleman Shelton, Washington

Size: 6’3, 292-lbs

Measurables
Arm Length: 31.875 inches
20-yard shuttle: 4.59 sec
Broad Jump: 9.02 feet
40-yard dash: 5.24 sec
3-cone: 7.62 sec
Vertical: 26.5 inches

RAS: 7.68
Size Grade: Okay
Speed Grade: Good
Agility Grade: Good
Explosive Grade: Good

Traits:

  • 3-year starter
  • Versatile
  • Good technique
  • Quick Feet

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, Allen, Demby, Shelton, and Blythe all had experience at other positions.
  • They don’t necessarily value athleticism. Most players on this list weren’t considered dominant athletes.
  • 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 tend to wait on the offensive line. Every player on this list was drafted on day three.
  • Other traits that are common, the Rams have drafted players with good technique and quick feet. They also tend to go for players with experience.
  • From a testing perspective, the Rams, all but Coleman Shelton were above the 298-lbs threshold. Allen, Rhaney, and Blythe are the only players shorter than 6’3.
  • The Rams don’t necessarily value size or strength as several of the players on this list were considered to be small, specifically when it comes to arm length, and lack strength. However, speed and agility are some qualities to watch.
  • McVay runs a zone-blocking scheme, specifically wide zone concepts, so those will be players we will watch as well.

2021 Players Who Fit the Rams

The Los Angeles Rams don’t draft until 57th overall, therefore it doesn’t make sense to look at players like Creed Humphrey who will likely be gone by the early parts of the second round. The Rams haven’t addressed the position until day three in nearly every scenario, therefore, the focus will be on late third-round picks and possible day three selections.

1) Kendrick Green, Illinois

Kendrick Green is versatile, has the experience, and has the ability to flourish in a zone-blocking scheme. He played in 33 straight games for the Illini and is projected to go late day two or day three of the NFL Draft. He’s undersized, but it’s shown that the Rams don’t necessarily look at size. Green has good short-area quickness which is because of his quick feet. He’s raw, but with a year to develop, he has a very high ceiling.

2) Drew Dalman, Stanford

Dalman is considered to be slightly undersized, but at 6’3, 299-lbs, he’s right in the range of other interior offensive linemen that the Rams have drafted. He’s shown versatility with experience at guard and center, and has been a starter for the last two seasons. Given his experience with the Rams’ new offensive line coach who comes from Stanford, Dalman is a perfect scheme fit. From a testing standpoint, Dalman put up elite grades in speed, agility, and explosiveness.

3) Drake Jackson, Kentucky

Drake Jackson would be a solid day three pickup for the Rams. He has three years of starting experience in the middle of the Wildcats’ offensive line. He’s considered undersized, but is extremely smart and has good technique with hands. Jackson has quick feet as well and would do well in zone-blocking schemes. He doesn’t offer the versatility that other offensive linemen do, but if the Rams are looking for a center, Jackson is a solid option.

4) Harry Crider, Indiana

I’m not sure that the Rams would necessarily draft Harry Crider, but he could be someone that they look to bring in as an undrafted free agent. He displays good footwork, has the speed and technique that the Rams have looked for in the past, and has experience at guard and center. He posted good testing grades in both speed and agility categories as well. Crider is a sleeper to keep an eye on.

2021 Honorable Mentions for the Rams

Ben Cleveland, Georgia

  • Average athlete
  • Good technique
  • Guard only-prospect
  • 6’6 is taller than Rams have gone in the past

Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater

  • Shows versatility
  • Below-average athlete
  • Raw technique

Ryan McCollum, Texas A&M

  • Average athlete
  • Guard/Center experience
  • 6’5 is taller than Rams like

 

 

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