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What Are the Rams Options at Center?

Posted May 17, 2017

Los Angeles signed LT Andrew Whitworth to help revamp its offensive line, but how will the team handle the center position?

Throughout the offseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Rams’ offense is how the unit’s line will be composed.

Los Angeles partially answered it by signing former Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth to anchor the line, which keeps Rodger Saffold at left guard. Head coach Sean McVay has also moved Greg Robinson and Rob Havenstein to compete at right tackle and right guard, respectively.

It’s at center where L.A. continues to bring in options with OTAs beginning next week. In early April, the Rams signed John Sullivan, who started 93 games for the Vikings from 2009-2014 before missing the 2015 season with a back injury. He served as the backup center in Washington last year, learning McVay’s offensive system.

At rookie minicamp over the weekend, McVay said Sullivan and 2014 seventh-round pick Demetrius Rhaney have been taking the majority of snaps at center so far.

While they did not draft an offensive lineman, the Rams signed Jake Eldrenkamp as a college free agent out of Washington. He saw plenty of action at center during last weekend’s rookie minicamp.

“He’s got the movement skills that we look for in a center and he’s a big guy,” offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said.

And L.A. made another move this week, claiming former Colts center Austin Blythe on waivers. A seventh-round pick out of Iowa in the 2016 draft, Blythe appeared in eight games last season, starting the club’s Week 4 matchup against the Jaguars.

But aside from the listed centers, McVay has said offensive line coach Aaron Kromer is working to cross train interior linemen.

“I think just because you’ve got to have the season in mind when you’ve got seven, maybe eight linemen [active on gameday], if something did happen to one of those centers, typically it’s going to be [a] guard [filling in] — unless you’re going to have one of those guys that’s your sixth or seventh linemen be exclusively a center,” McVay said. “It’s important for those guards to be able to have some flexibility and be able to snap that football if some of those emergency situations dictate that.”

And so while Sullivan is likely No. 1 at the position at this point, the center competition will likely be one to monitor through OTAs and training camp.