This summer, the NFL's Next Gen Stats developed multiple new metrics to evaluate player and team rushing performance. One of the latest created to quantify both: expected rushing yards per carry (xYPC).
"Offensive line play is just one factor that determines xYPC, but ranking the top 10 offensive lines from 2019 based on xYPC, as we've done below, gives us an idea of how effective these units were at creating opportunities for running backs on a per-play basis," Around the NFL writer Nick Shook wrote.
As it turns out, the Rams were one of the best at doing just that, coming in at No. 9 on Shook's list.
Shook pointed to the Rams' 4.31 xYPC in 2019 as one of the reasons why, noting that it was higher than the league average of 4.18, as well as adapting to injuries along the interior of the offensive line.
"The Rams should really be commended for landing on this list, especially after losing Joe Noteboom early in the season and needing a replacement so badly, they swung a deal (which could end up being a steal) with the Browns for Austin Corbett in the middle of the season," Shook wrote as part of his analysis.
Per the article, Los Angeles accomplished this production while being one of the top five teams in outside run percentage, with more than 64 percent of their running plays falling into that category. In light of that, Shook hypothesized that putting increased trust into the interior of the offensive line could produce better results for the Rams' backfield.
Regardless, the research reinforces why the Rams felt comfortable sticking with their returning offensive line personnel heading into the upcoming season and addressing it later rather than earlier in this year's draft.
"We felt confident that if we continue grooming and developing these players they'd have a chance to become a really solid offensive line," general manager Les Snead said after the final day of the draft concluded.
Click here to read the rest of Shook's breakdown, as well as the complete rankings.