One of the biggest downfalls for the Los Angeles Rams last season was their lack of an offensive line and protection for quarterback Matthew Stafford. They had taken two offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft, but neither was able to make an immediate impact.
So joining Logan Bruss and AJ Arcuri from 2022, the Rams selected two more offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft, Steve Avila and Warren McClendon. The Rams are hopeful that they can successfully rebuild their offensive line without having to spend significant money in free agency.
Stafford, who wound up missing a significant amount of time in 2022 with injury, is certainly in support of drafting such a vital position to the success of an offense. He spoke about his thoughts on the four offensive linemen drafted over the past two seasons.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s great. I think the biggest thing for me is just I want, like everybody here wants, is just all of these guys to succeed. I want all of them to succeed as best they possibly can,” Stafford said. “I think coaches, myself, veterans on the team, we have a big part in that and then those guys got to want to do it and do all that. But just want to try and help those guys succeed because the more those guys that are successful in their own right, the better we’re going to be as a team.”
As Rams fans saw in 2022, having an offensive line that is not up to par can be deeply detrimental to the success of a team. So not only have the Rams went out and added four rookies along the line, they’ve spent their first pick in back-to-back drafts on it.
Bruss and Avila were the Rams first selections in 2022 (third round) and 2023 (second round). Avila, specifically, is slated to be a day one starter and could make a big impact on a team that is looking to tread water in 2023 before retooling for next season.
Stafford has two more seasons under contract where a release would be a net negative on the Rams books. They cannot cut him and save money until the 2025 season, so in the meantime, they are doing what they can to protect him and build a quality team around him.
Avila calls high school to college transition more difficult than NFL
The Rams second-round pick from 2023 has already begun his offseason programming with the team. And so far, he is finding success in the transition from college to the NFL.
In fact, he feels the transition has been easier than when he went from high school to college, as he now known a little bit more of what to expect at the next level.