Rams News: Warren McClendon Jr. Says It’s ‘Special’ To Reunite With College Teammate Stetson Bennett
Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Following a 2022 season that saw the offensive line decimated by injuries, the Los Angeles Rams made a conscious effort to address their depth by adding two lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Rams’ first pick in the draft was for Steve Avila, who many considered to be the best interior lineman prospect in his class. However, they also added another tackle when they took Georgia’ Warren McClendon Jr. in the fifth round at No. 174.

McClendon isn’t the only player the Rams plucked from Georgia as they also took Stetson Bennett No. 128 overall. It’s always fun to see former college teammates end up on the same squad in the NFL and McClendon called the opportunity special, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:

“It’s special,” McClendon said after being selected. “He was there before me, but he left, went to JuCo and came back, but we came in together his second time. Just watching him grow and him helping me out and helping him out, and just the things we’ve accomplished on the college level, now coming to the NFL, words just can’t explain. I’m just speechless right now.”

Bennett and McClendon had plenty of success together at the collegiate level, helping the Bulldogs capture back-to-back CFP National Championships. That kind of championship pedigree should help their transition to the pros where both will have their roles on the roster.

While Bennett will likely end up just a backup for Matthew Stafford, McClendon has a shot to contribute sooner rather than later because of his versatility. McClendon was primarily a tackle in college, but could slide over to the interior where he has some experience playing guard and center. Considering how injuries ravaged the roster last year, the coaching staff must’ve viewed McClendon’s ability to play everywhere heavily before drafting him.

Sean McVay doesn’t play his starters in preseason, so Bennett and McClendon could very well share the field together again in the coming months. That should be a special moment for the two if it does end up happening.

Steve Avila calls transition to NFL easier than high school to college

Unlike McClendon, who has to fight for a starting spot, it seems likely that Avila is penciled in as a starter due to his talent and draft pedigree. While the transition to the NFL can be rough for rookies, Avila’s taking it all in stride and even said it’s been easier than going from high school to college so far.