Despite losing Andrew Whitworth to retirement (so far), do the Los Angeles Rams have a better offensive line in 2022 than the one that helped them win the Super Bowl in 2021?
Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams as having the 11th-best offensive line as of the offseason, just outside of the Indianapolis Colts rounding out the top-10. Here’s what PFF had to say about the Rams current line, which is now anchored by Joseph Noteboom at left tackle:
There’s no completely replacing the retired Andrew Whitworth for the Rams’ offensive line, but one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the NFL is taking his place. Joe Noteboom has never been a full-time starter for Los Angeles, but he’s been fantastic whenever on the field. Noteboom allowed only five pressures on 142 pass-blocking snaps last season.
Obviously Whitworth and the situation at the unit’s most important position is going to be the focus for most people, but there is perhaps a more dire situation brewing on the interior of the offensive line. Both this season and when free agency hits in 2023.
There will be a competition at right guard to replace Austin Corbett and the frontrunner might be rookie third round pick Logan Bruss. Perhaps Bruss will have his NFL experience “eased” by moving inside from right tackle, the position he played at Wisconsin, but it still not easy at all for most people to adjust to the professional league so quickly.
Look no further than Corbett himself, a player who went 33rd overall in 2018 but was traded by the Browns after only one season of trying him out along the offensive line. Even then, it took a while before Corbett was comfortable at right guard for LA and he wasn’t quite good enough for anyone to make a fuss over his free agent departure in 2022.
Perhaps a weakness at right guard wouldn’t be the worst thing ever, there are at least a half-dozen positions on offense that are more important, but going up against NFL veteran defensive tackles twice per year like Arik Armstead, J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, and Quinton Jefferson will surely mean growing pains for Bruss. And that’s only if he wins the job.
The team is also hoping that center Brian Allen will continue to grow from his first season back starting at center, while also preparing for another potential free agent departure with left guard David Edwards in 2023.
For now, the Rams offensive line could look like this:
That would mean limited-to-no starting experience at left tackle and right guard, Allen at center again, plus Edwards and Rob Havenstein.
Meanwhile, PFF ranks the San Francisco 49ers at 14, the Arizona Cardinals at 25, and the Seattle Seahawks all the way at the bottom at 32.
In the NFC, PFF prefers the Eagles (1), Lions (3), Bucs (4), Packers (5), and Cowboys (6). That would mean that five of the top six offensive lines in the NFL are in the NFC, and that the defending champions are not one of them.
How concerned should Rams fans be with the offensive line, if at all? Will LA’s unit be better at pass blocking or run blocking? Is there a weak link who could be replaced during the season? Let us know in the comments.