To be frank, I don’t think that the Rams’ need for offensive linemen is pivotal, as the play of the offensive line got better as the season progressed. Many are projecting the Rams to select an offensive tackle with the second overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but a player such as Khalil Mack or Clowney would be the better selection for the needs of the team.
But since there is a possibility of filling the need at tackle I will assess the prospects most likely to be there at the second overall position that fit the value of the second overall pick or guards that could be selected with the thirteenth overall selection.
Jake Matthews (6’5”/308lbs)
Offensive tackle, Texas A&M
Pros: Phenomenal pass-blocker with a very quick kick-out slide. Handles bull rushes extremely well and rarely gets overpowered by defensive ends. Extremely quick feet and has a great burst off the line of scrimmage. Matthews plays extremely low to the ground and has extremely fluid hips that allow him to slide out and switch on stunts. If you watch the tape of the Mizzou game, he absolutely demolished Kony Ealy and made him useless for most of the game. He rarely gets beat by pass-rushing moves and has great leverage against most defensive linemen. He’s a good enough run-blocker who understands when to shift-block and go to the second level. The thing I absolutely love about Matthews is that he rarely gets flagged for holding or false starts, showing that he’s an extremely intelligent player. He loved the arm-lock block where he grabs the defensive linemen right at the armpits and just lifts him up to the sky. Prototypical pass blocking left tackle that can come in and play right tackle too. Most of his “mistakes” were actually Manziel’s fault for either (a.) leaving the pocket before it collapsed or (b.) held the ball WAY too long.
Cons: To be frank, there aren’t many cons I found with Matthews’ game. In the LSU game, he had a few mental mistakes where he didn’t shift his blocks to the corner blitzes and in some run plays didn’t shed to second level. People like to comment on his short arms, but from what I’ve seen on tape, they’re not really an issue at all.
Greg Robinson (6’5”/332)
Offensive tackle, Auburn University
Pros: This guy is mean. In the run game, he’ll maul you until you go back to your elementary school days and go home crying to mommy about the bully. He’s a fantastic drive blocker who absolutely demolishes any defensive linemen that comes his way. No question the BEST run blocking offensive lineman in the draft. He’s extremely quick off the ball and his hand placement to lift, lock, and drive is amazing. The move I love of his, and one that most offensive line coaches dream of a player doing, is the facemask drive. Where you put your facemask underneath a defensive lineman’s facemask and lift your head up. This causes the defensive lineman to lose all mobility, making him your pet. Has a decently quick kick-out and handles bull rushers fairly well.
Cons: What worries me about Robinson is his effect in the pass protection game. Auburn ran an option style, very unorthodox blocking scheme that basically had faux pass-blocking. He was never really asked to shift-block, handle switches, or really kick-out much for pass rushers. He struggled against speed rushers and didn’t know how to handle pass-rushing moves. He may have performed well in the drills at the combine, but in the tape, Robinson didn’t play low to the ground, hips weren’t very fluid, or were his feet quick enough to handle speed rushers. He may be an athletic freak, but he needs to work on his fundamentals.