SOFI DRAFT LAB – Surrounded by "150" of the people closest to him and his football journey in Fort Worth, Texas, an emotional Steve Avila had tears in his eyes as he received the phone call that advanced him to the coveted next stage of a player's football career.
"I don't know if it was a conversation (with Rams general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay), because I had too many tears in my eyes to talk directly," the former Texas Christian guard said after getting drafted by the Rams.
Avila's arrival helps bolster the depth of a Los Angeles offensive line hit hard by injuries in 2022, starting 12 different combinations through the first 12 games.
Avila said he wasn't too aware of those injuries as they were happening and emphasized the willingness to play any position.
"I mean, playing offensive line, man, people are gonna get hurt. That's just how the position goes," Avila said. "Luckily, I've been fortunate enough to stay healthy, thank God for that every single day. But again, that just goes along the lines of being versatile and being able to move around along the offensive line, which is something that I'm very open to. I want to be utilized, I want to be coached, I want to be all these things."
At TCU, Avila gained experience playing at multiple spots along the offensive line. He made six starts at center, two at right tackle and one at right guard as a sophomore, 11 starts at center as a junior, then 15 starts at left guard as a senior.
Take a look at photos of new Los Angeles Rams offensive guard Steve Avila from his time at TCU.
"He played over about 1,000 snaps at the guard and also 1,000 snaps at the center," said Rams area scout Cedric Jones, who served as their lead scout on Avila. "A guy that offers us the versatility that will help us and however that fits in there, kind of gives Sean and the coaches room to do whatever they want to do and make the pieces fit."
For Rams senior personnel advisor Taylor Morton, what sold him on Avila was seeing his size and versatility live at an all-star game.
"I saw him live at the Senior Bowl, and just to see him in person and how big he was, and playing both center and guard, and being able to see that versatility live at the Senior Bowl I think was very helpful for us," Morton said.
"The guy doesn't care where he lines up," added Jones.
Avila got a taste of California in January when his Horned Frogs played in the national championship game at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles in January, but was already familiar with the state before that time. He said he lived in San Jose for three months, though his mother had lived there for a long time.
"We always went back," Avila said. "I always find myself going to Los Angeles, or California in general. I love the state man, it's such an awesome state. There's so much to do, it's so beautiful, people are awesome. It's just awesome that I'm able to be on the Rams in California."
Making that all the more meaningful for him: Having those family and friends by his side. Even before he knew the NFL was an option, it's what he always wanted to do.
"Lots of crying," Avila said. "Again, man, these people are people that I've known all my life and they've definitely played pivotal roles in my life and how I've grown up. I'm sure seeing the excitement and joy from it for me affects a lot of people. I feel like it just played out the way I wanted it to."