7 LA Rams players who must step up this season

(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images) /
3 of 9
Los Angeles Rams Coleman Shelton
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

The Center solution

The LA Rams will lose interior offensive lineman Austin Bythe this year, and starting center Brian Allen is coming off an ACL injury.  Prior to his injury, Allen was struggling at the center position in the wake of veteran center John Sullivan.  So the Rams need competition for arguably the most important position of the offensive line, the center

C Coleman Shelton

Coleman Shelton was a mid-season addition to the team in the midst of the offensive linemen injury epidemic.  While he was signed from the Arizona Cardinals practice squad to the 53-man roster, he was a solid addition for several reasons. First and foremost, he is extremely versatile. He has experience at the University of Washington at all five offensive line positions. Ultimately, he played center for two years where he dominated both in pass and run blocking.

light. Must Read. LA Rams player feature: C Coleman Shelton ready for larger role?

Some projections pose either Brian Allen or Austin Corbett to center, but the team played far better when Corbett slid to the left guard position, a more natural role for him. Allen struggled horribly at center.  Shelton, conversely, is most at home snapping the ball. Entering the 2019 NFL Draft, I projected him as a potential prospect for the Rams, and am still convinced he has tremendous upside for Los Angeles.

The Rams need to improve their running game, and Coleman Shelton is a step in that direction. He is a very athletic, and can lead block on sweeps and mis-directions, as well as penetrate to the secondary and block downfield.

light. Related Story. Patience, not money, fixes LA Rams offensive line woes

But the Rams will benefit from his pass blocking as well.  NFL defenses ravaged the Rams inexperience at the interior offensive line by hammering at the A gap with blitz packages. Oftentimes the center moved to pickup the wrong defender, leaving quarterback Jared Goff scrambling for his life.  Shelton is a savvy center, and understands the need to pick up the correct defender on each play.