Baldy' Breakdown: LA Rams IOL Steve Avila is 'Rookie Gold'

Steve Avila, Los Angeles Rams
Steve Avila, Los Angeles Rams / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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Many NFL analysts were impressed with Avila

Steve Avila was like a breath of fresh air to the Ram offensive line in 2023. While a rookie, he was eager to learn, willing to help out his teammates, consistently fierce on every play (literally, he played every down) and infused a meanness into the team's offensive front that took pride in the ability to pancake an opponent.

Justin Melo of The Draft Network was enamored with TCU offensive guard Steve Avila throughout the 2023 NFL Draft process, and well into the 2023 season. His commitment to highlighting just how well Avila performed in his rookie season may have escaped some, but I was always pleased to see and read another @JustinM_NFL tweet about his perspective and insight over the Rams rookie guard.

There is a great video analysis from A to Z Sports Film Room, and you can check it out at this link. What I love about this analysis is the play by play commentary that details what Avila is doing right while you witness the evidence of the assertions by watching his performance in live action.

The video points out that Avila is notoriously underestimated by Pro Football Focus, who awarded Avila a lukewarm grade of 61.1 for his 2023 performance. That is a bit embarrassing for PFF because Avila was truly one of the best offensive linemen in the group all season long.

Perhaps the best quality of Steve Avila is his versatility. Even after playing extremely well as the team's starting left guard, some believe that one option for 2024 is to move him to center and simply draft another offensive guard. That may work, and Avila himself coyly responded to questions about his 2024 role by saying that he will always do what is asked of him.

Ultimately, the Rams offensive line in 2024 will be far better with Steve Avila suited up and playing. That is a luxury that this team has not always enjoyed. While we turn to the future and project the best ways to improve the team next season, don't forget to take a moment to appreciate just how well many players performed in 2023.

As NFL Insider Brian Baldinger stated so eloquently in one of his Baldy' Breakdowns early in the 2023 NFL season: LA Rams IOL Steve Avila is 'Rookie Gold'. And as you all know, gold never loses its luster or value.