The offensive line of the Los Angeles Rams was simply masterful in 2021, leading to Matthew Stafford being sacked only 30 times (third-fewest of his career when he’s started in 16-plus games). But after having Andrew Whitworth, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Austin Corbett, and Rob Havenstein serving as the starters in 2021, only Edwards, Allen, and Havenstein are returning in 2022.
Joseph Noteboom is slated to replace Whitworth at left tackle after inking a new deal and it remains to be seen if the Rams view Coleman Shelton (who also signed a new contract) as a starter at guard. With Los Angeles needing to improve their depth on the offensive line, they could choose to address the trenches in the 2022 NFL draft.
There are only a couple of weeks until the draft gets underway and I’ve been —and will be — taking a look at a handful of prospects at positions of need for the Rams. The next offensive tackle that I’ll be highlighting is Obinna Eze out of TCU.
Eze, a native of Nigeria, originally moved to the United States to play basketball before making the move to football as a senior in high school in 2016. Coming out of high school, Eze elected to commit to Memphis, where he redshirted his freshman season.
Eze would spend four years at Memphis before transferring to TCU for his senior season in 2021. Throughout his time at Memphis and TCU, Eze started all of his games at left tackle and he made 37 consecutive starts to finish his collegiate career.
At the NFL scouting combine, Eze produced a 5.17 40-yard dash (14th among OT), an 8.20 three-cone (12th among OT), and a 5.08 20-yard shuttle (14th among OT).
How he fits the Rams
With Noteboom replacing Whitworth at left tackle, the Rams could target a backup tackle in the 2022 NFL draft to replace Noteboom. Seeing that Eze is going to need some time to develop, he’d be a perfect late-round option for Los Angeles in the upcoming draft.
Eze was strong operating in a zone-blocking scheme at TCU, where he showed off his athleticism in space. Standing at nearly six foot, seven inches (and lengthy arms), Eze is able to occupy a lot of space in a short amount of time, which helps him combat edge rushers in pass protection.
What makes Eze an ideal target is that he’s projected to be available in the fifth-to-seventh round range, allowing the Rams to address their more pressing needs in the draft.
We’ve all seen the memes and the jokes about Les Snead and the Rams not caring about early-round picks. Los Angeles’ decision to be aggressive in acquiring proven talent instead of rolling the dice on young players resulted in them securing a Super Bowl victory.
On the flip side, the Rams have eight total picks in the 2022 NFL draft, with seven of them coming on Day 3. There’s a good chance that Los Angeles is going to select at least one offensive linemen in the draft, and Eze is an offensive tackle to keep an eye on in the later rounds.
Once again, Eze is expected to be a Day 3 selection and picking him would give the Rams an opportunity to target other positions of need with their earlier picks.