Evaluating the offensive line, much like its counterpart on defense, is a difficult task during the offseason.
Given the latest collective bargaining agreement, the offseason program is more focused on technique and skill development with no opportunities for one-on-one matchups. Plus, practices throughout OTAs and minicamps are restricted to jerseys and shells, with no padded practices allowed until training camp.
Check out photos of day two of the Los Angeles Rams minicamp.
But for Rams offensive line coach and run game coordinator Aaron Kromer, there is, however, an important purpose for the offseason program when it comes to the front five — allowing players to learn the system fully before they attempt matchups against some of the league's best.
"I think any human needs confidence first — can they do it correctly on air, can they do it correctly on a bag, can they do it correctly on a backup player that isn't really ready to play?" Kromer said. "But then ultimately the test is, can you block the guys you're going to have to block during games?"
For the Rams, the offensive line has a bit of an advantage in this regard. During training camp, the club's O-Line will be up against players like Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers, who are highly considered some of the most dominant in the NFL.
As such, training camp will create a measuring stick of sorts, giving Kromer a chance to fully evaluate both veteran and rookie players.
"I think we'll get a lot of opportunity during training camp of going ones on twos, and then twos on ones, so it'll give everybody that opportunity," he said.
And training camp will be especially beneficial for the group of rookies the club drafted in the spring. Los Angeles' 11-player draft class consisted of three offensive lineman, including the Rams' top pick of the draft in Joseph Noteboom.
Kromer said the group has been doing "a great job of learning, understanding why things are happening, and trying to master those techniques." But like the rest of the O-line room, the rookies will also have to wait until after training camp to receive a true evaluation.
"Right now, everything we do is schematics, technique and you don't have the physical nature of the plays, and the games," Kromer said. "But as far as an evaluation period, you can't evaluate the offensive line until after training camp, during training camp, and during the preseason games when everything really starts happening fast."