Fast 40+ Rams Roster rookie roundup: Steve Avilla (#1)
By Bret Stuter
A quick summary: Round 2 36th overall pick
There has been a long-standing matter of offensive lineman on the Rams fan wish list for several years, and that itch finally got scratched with the 36th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Was it the right pick? Time will tell. But it was absolutely a long overdue pick. The LA Rams have long been operating under the 'make-do,' principles of the Rams roster when it comes to the Rams offensive line. This season, the Rams appear to be prioritizing infusing fresh and talented offensive linemen into the roster to compete for contributing roles.
The Rams have not been operating on a skeleton crew by any means. But the Rams roster was decimated by injuries last season, and many of those backup offensive lineman are no longer with the team. If you want to get your first viewing of Rams offensive lineman Steve Avila, he appears in the Tweet video above at the 7:25 mark. Steve Avila is clearly happy to be playing for the LA Rams,
“Great coaches and a great bunch of people, I'm just glad to be here. There’s a lot of younger guys in there too – I’m talking younger, like under 30 – but they all know what they’re doing. Taking in all the coaching I can and it’s definitely a bunch of camaraderie going around. Got a good group of people. I’m learning stuff every day so I know especially being a rookie and how they do things and stuff, so it’s all fun." - Per Steve Avila in the above press conference.
Avila Is authentic, excited, and trying to take it all in. He is clearly enjoying himself so far.
What I don't like about this pick
This is tough, because I truly never expected the LA Rams to have a shot at drafting Steve Avila. Of course, no rookie is infallible and Avila has to earn his stripes. But the question that sticks is the question of whether the Rams addressed the right position. There were a number of talented offensive centers on the draft board. Did the Rams choose wisely? That's a question that, like the selection of WR Tutu Atwell over C Creed Humphrey, could haunt Rams fans for years to come.
What I like about this pick
The Rams did not dabble at upgrading the offensive line with this pick. In fact, Avila was the first interior offensive lineman off the board, which means that the Rams did not settle for their runner-up. So what makes Avila so ideal for the Rams' offensive line? He is a massive 6-foot-3.5 332-pound interior offensive lineman who can start at any of the three interior offensive line positions. If I had to comp him blind, I would assert that he is an instant upgrade to Rams interior offensive lineman Coleman Shelton. While Shelton clearly has more NFL experience, Avila has the advantage in size and power. I like Shelton, and I like Avila as well.
What I love about this pick
The Rams feel so much more physical on the offensive front with this guy installed as a starter. Even if he must struggle through an NFL rookie learning curve, Steve Avilla gives off the impression of a young man who will get the job done. He has an infectious smile and the first impression of a young man loving his new life playing for the LA Rams, much like the visage of a teenager visiting their first amusement park. But when the pads go on, I look forward to the transformation into a fierce snarling offensive lineman. Imagine Avila going up DL Aaron Donald daily in training camp, and you can begin to imagine just how good this young man can play even in his rookie season.