LA Rams: Pressure mounts on OL Bobby Evans to breakout
The LA Rams are returning venerable left tackle Andrew Whitworth, veteran right tackle Rob Havenstein, and promising left guard David Edwards. Veteran interior offensive lineman Austin Corbett will shift from the right guard position to the vacant offensive center spot. This will be his third different offensive line position he has started at for the LA Rams in the past three seasons. So far, so good, right? After all, they are all NFL-tested to hold their own as NFL starters.
And then, the final piece. LA Rams offensive lineman Bobby Evans will start for the team at right guard. And for all intents and purposes, the pressure is mounting upon him to perform up to the task right out of the gates.
Unlike the rest of the offensive line, Bobby Evans has been a bit of a work-in-process so far for the LA Rams. Now, his durability has been excellent. He has shown up and played whenever the Rams have needed him, and yes they have needed him each year since he was drafted by the Rams with the 97th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was an offensive tackle for the Oklahoma Sooners, but he was given cross-training in virtually all five offensive line positions.
He was forced into action in 2019 at offensive right tackle, where he lined up in place of the injured Rob Havenstein. To his left was right guard Austin Corbett. In 2020, he was forced into action at left guard, where he filled in for an injured David Edwards. On neither occasion did he stand out. His 2019 grade from Pro Football Focus was 49.4. His post-season grade by PFF for the 2020 NFL Playoffs dropped to 43.4. Still, the coaches were encouraged enough to pen him in as the apparent starting right guard for the 2021 NFL season. Now the question is: Do they know something we do not? Or have they simply set up Bobby Evans to fail?
Los Angeles Rams
I think that the LA Rams coaching staff may indeed be onto something. Bobby Evans was forced into starting at a difficult right tackle position as a rookie, followed by getting slapped into a starting left guard position just in time for the NFL Playoffs. Talk about diving into the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim?
The 2021 offseason will be different, folks. You see, the Rams will benefit from the entire offseason training package of OTAs, training camp, preseason games, the works. In 2019, the Rams organization was all about learning as much as the team could discover about Bobby Evans, the player. And Evans was swimming against the rip-tide of a new city, team, coaching staff, teammates, playbook, and life.
This year, Evans is practicing at a known position and is the designated starter. That will give him a huge leg up on securing the position, focusing his techniques, and building repoire with his teammates. This is his third NFL season, a point where many offensive linemen turn the corner and show a rapid development towards becoming a solid NFL starter.
Will this be the year for Bobby Evans to show up large and in charge at right guard? That is a tough one to call. But we can say without hesitation that he has never had a better shot at doing so. Now, it’s up to him to fill the role. The LA Rams coaching staff believes in him, and that is a very good starting point for a great 2021 season.