THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Some days, it does seem like it was just yesterday that offensive tackle Rob Havenstein was chosen in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Rams.
Other days, when talking to another veteran teammate, it dawns on him how quickly time has passed.
"I'll be talking with (tight end Tyler) Higbee or somebody who's kind of been around for awhile, and we start talking about some time and tell our stories, and then come back and be like, 'man, that was seven years ago!' Havenstein said with a smile and a laugh last week. "It's like, man. So it did go fast in that regard."
A lot has changed during that time, and if he needed another reminder, he got one this offseason between Los Angeles' offseason departures and the 40-man rookie class it pulled together over the last five days.
However, going into his ninth season, he said that no two teams are the same, whether a roster loses one guy or 40. And he feels good about the direction things are headed.
"You can't compare two teams to one another," Havenstein said. "Obviously we had a big departure of people, we have limited people in the building right now, we'll have a bunch of new faces here in a couple of weeks. But the faces we have seen now, it's good to be back. There's something about this place that's special. The renewed energy that we have in this place of having fun again, getting after it, competing, rolling the dice and seeing what happens, and I think I think that's been shown the first couple of weeks of workouts and just as this first week of field work. Guys are locked in, ready to go while still having fun doing it. So we're building foundations here in a good spot."
That's especially felt within his own position group this spring after a fall and winter of attrition due to injury, with players like Coleman Shelton, Logan Bruss and Alaric Jackson all back around. The Rams started 13 different offensive line combinations in 17 games last year, with 14 different players starting at least one game.
Havenstein said he likes everyone in the room, so it's good to see them around. Collectively, they enjoy each other's company and have a special camaraderie – players are still helping each other out even amongst the competition, Havenstein said, which he added has been good to see.
"I think everyone came back ready to work, ready to go after it," Havenstein said. "They've been putting in work. Guys that were here rehabbing, it's been showing; guys who went home, it's been shown too. So I'm very pleased with where everyone is now. Now we just got to look forward to building some building some rapport with everyone, because like every NFL year, there's no slated starters anywhere – besides maybe a couple people. I don't think anyone's taking (defensive lineman) Aaron (Donald)'s spot."
Soon, that room will have new faces. Of those 40 rookies, five are offensive linemen, including second-round pick Steve Avila, fifth-round pick Warren McClendon Jr., and undrafted free agent signees Sean Maginn, Mike McAllister and Grant Miller.
Havenstein and his nine years of experience know how special it is to have the chance to be on an NFL roster, whether drafted or undrafted.
"It's something I hope the guys that come in here really don't take that for granted, because it is hard," Havenstein said.