Offensive left tackle
The LA Rams are looking at filling multiple starting roles for the 2022 LA Rams roster, but promoting a player to a starting role does not replace the leadership and value of venerable offensive linemen like soon-to-be-40 veteran Andrew Whitworth. Of course, with each successive birthday, the LA Rams had that gentle reminder of the fact that Big Whit was getting older, and as such was getting closer to calling it quits to enable him to enjoy a less challenging and physically demanding chapter of his life.
But when you examine the current roster, there is no obvious replacement waiting in the wings for the left tackle spot. There is no heir apparent currently on the roster. The closest thing to his padawan is veteran Joseph Noteboom, who coincidentally also faces an expired contract in 2022. So that’s a bit of a predicament.
Of course, if you do a roster check on a pure body count, the LA Rams appear to have enough bodies for their future roster needs. That only holds true if the Rams are somehow able to fast-track some current players into significant roles come next season. As long as the Rams have a plan in place this offseason for 2022 roster spots, the team could pull it off (theoretically).
Andrew Whitworth’s retirement should never have gotten to this point. Even if the Rams had drafted a left tackle in round seven of the 2021 NFL Draft, it would have aligned their future needs with a current rookie resource. As it now stands, there is enough reason to be concerned about the state of the LA Rams offensive line in 2022. Even a top draft choice (round two) will arrive raw and in need of investing significant coaching time.
A better route would be to take a player on the 2021 roster, even one like undrafted AJ Jackson or assigned like Max Pircher, commit a regimented and structured itinerary to get him up to the level of earning a starting offensive line position in 2022, and deploying that 12-month-long boot camp to ensure that the Rams have a player in line for the role if and when Whitworth is ready to step away.