Do the LA Rams need a bonafide franchise left tackle?

Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports /

The retirement of venerable veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth was about more than just another NFL offensive lineman retirement. It marked the closing chapter of one of the NFL’s standout blindside protectors. Over the course of his 16-season NFL career, Whitworth competed in 239 regular season games and started 235 of those. He also started 15 NFL playoff games over his career.

NFL Champions all have several outstanding players in key positions as the common element. Those positions are quarterback, pass rusher, blind side blocker, shut down cornerback, and wide receiver.  While the talent level of other positions on those championship teams can vary from team to team if those five positions are covered and that team remains healthy, that NFL team has a good chance to enjoy a great season.

So the question now is, do the LA Rams truly have a franchise blind-side offensive tackle?

This season, the LA Rams had started multiple players at left tackle. So how did they do?

  • Name                                Snaps          Penalties         Sacks allowed
  • Joe Noteboom                  325                     3                        5
  • Alaric Jackson                   166                     2                        1
  • Ty Nsekhe                            92                     3                         0
  • Bobby Evans                       41                     0                         2
  • A.J. Arcuri                              54                     0                         0

Joe Noteboom started the season at left tackle, but he clearly struggled in the role. But have the Rams played anyone at left tackle who warrants the moniker of a franchise left tackle? I’m not so sure.

Make blindside blocker the top priority

Rather than blow up the entire offensive line roster, perhaps the secret is to target specific roster spots where an upgrade can make the biggest impact. If that is the case, then why not target an outstanding veteran or rookie offensive tackle who can fill that role?

Whether or not you believe he is on the Rams roster or not, it makes sense for this team to throw an investment into the left tackle. The Rams could return Joe Noteboom to an offensive guard role that he seemed to play well enough in 2020. And the Rams do have Max Pircher, Alaric Jackson, and even A.J. Arcuri who could compete to start at left tackle next season.

But the Rams need to get it right, and not have any guesswork about it. The entire offense starts with the offensive line. And the entire offensive line starts with a franchise blindside blocker. Is any such player on the Rams roster right now? In my mind, finding that player is a top priority for the Rams from now through the end of the season. And if now prospect surfaces, that player becomes a top priority from either the NFL Free Agency market or the 2023 NFL Draft.

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