Because two starters on Los Angeles’ offensive line departed the franchise during the offseason, the Rams’ depth pieces from last year — Joe Noteboom and Brian Allen — are now slated to become starters in 2019. That, in turn, created a need for L.A. to replenish depth up front.
Enter Bobby Evans out of Oklahoma, who has a chance to be an important part of the Rams’ offensive line in 2019 and beyond.
OUTLOOK AT THE POSITION
At this point, the Rams have three positions solidified with returning starters in left tackle Andrew Whitworth, right guard Austin Blythe, and right tackle Rob Havenstein.
As Los Angeles continues through Phase II of the offseason program, 2018 third-round pick Noteboom and 2018 fourth-round pick Allen have been working at left guard and center, respectively. Essentially, they are the expected starters at those positions heading into the regular season.
A sixth-round pick last year, Jamil Demby is also on the roster to provide depth, and at this point likely slots in as one of the first players off the bench. The Rams usually keep seven offensive linemen active on their 46-man gameday roster.
Jeremiah Kolone and Aaron Neary are also on the 90-man roster currently, and both have spent time in the organization either during the offseason or on the practice squad over the last couple years.
ROLE AS A ROOKIE
As it relates to Evans, it’s unlikely that there will be much competition for a starting role on the offensive line. But like Noteboom and Allen last year, Evans has a chance to be an important depth piece.
Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said on draft night that Evans will be cross-trained at both tackle and guard when he arrives. Kromer believes that’s the best way for young lineman to learn the ways of the NFL.
Evans does enter the league with the benefit of already having played on both sides of the offensive line in college. At Oklahoma, Evans started at right tackle as a redshirt freshman and sophomore in 2016 and 2017. Then in 2018, Evans flipped over to left tackle, blocking for Heisman Trophy winner-turned No. 1 overall pick quarterback Kyler Murray.
So Evans has a solid chance to be one of Los Angeles’ backup linemen on the 46-man gameday roster.
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE
It’s still a year away, but Whitworth and Blythe do have expiring contracts coming up at the end of 2019. With that in mind, Evans could enter the league like Noteboom and Allen in 2018 — have a redshirt year, and then possibly move into a starting role the following season.
That, of course, depends on whether Evans can earn that spot. But that’s a big part of why it’s an advantage for him to be in the building now as a depth piece instead of a year from now when there may be a need.