LA Rams rookie AJ Arcuri growth could end Bobby Evans chapter

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have stood behind versatile backup offensive lineman Bobby Evans since adding him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL with the 97th overall pick. The Rams have seldom selected an offensive lineman that high in the draft, but the team needed to invest in an offensive line that was projected to lose veteran offensive guard Roger Saffold and center John Sullivan. Evans would provide the necessary roster depth to meet the challenges of the 2019 season.

Those challenges arrived pretty quickly, as Evans was promoted to start after the Rams’ offensive line was hit hard with injuries. He played 471 offensive snaps that season, the most in his three-year NFL career.

Since that season, the Rams coaching staff have given Evans opportunities to compete for a starting spot on the offensive line, the most recent being 2021, when the Rams all but guaranteed Evans the starting right guard spot as the team tried to move Austin Corbett into the center position. When the pads went on, the team did a quick about-face and restored Corbett to the right guard position, promoting Brian Allen to the center position.

Evans would remain a valued backup, playing 91 offensive snaps for the Rams 2021 NFL season.

But the winds of change appear to be picking up.

The LA Rams added offensive tackle AJ Arcuri in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 262nd overall pick. And so far, the LA Rams have been impressed with the young rookie. In three preseason games, he played 111 offensive snaps, committing one penalty and allowing one quarterback sack.

For much of the LA Rams’ preseason work, the team faced either starters or rotational players on the defensive front. So Arcuri’s performance is impressive. So impressive that he is getting mentioned by LA Rams head coach Sean McVay to claim one of the team’s 53-man roster spots.

I don’t think you need a Ph.D. in mathematics to recognize that any spot that Arcuri is awarded on the Rams roster will come at the expense of veteran Bobby Evans. While that is all part of the business of the NFL, there is a lot to be said for Evans and his willingness to step up and compete for the LA Rams whenever his number was called.

Of course, we don’t know until we do. The Rams could cut both or neither player or simply waive them by the NFL deadline, only to re-sign both to the team’s practice squad 24 hours later.

But the chances of AJ Arcuri remaining with the Rams are growing brighter. Likewise, the chances of Bobby Evans remaining with the Rams are beginning to dim.

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