On Tuesday, the St. Louis Rams claimed offensive lineman Travis Bond off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. The 23-year-old Bond seems to have the two primary qualities that head coach Jeff Fisher and offensive line coach Paul Boudreau have typically desired in the linemen they’ve brought into St. Louis: size and versatility. Bond, a 6-foot-6, 330-pounder who received the nickname “Tree Top” in college at North Carolina, is primarily a guard, but he did see some time at right tackle as a senior at UNC.
Bond was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He did not make their roster out of training camp, though, and he was signed to the Vikings’ practice squad. In mid-November, when Carolina had a roster opening, they signed him to their active roster, and he ended up playing in two late-season games as a reserve guard and special teamer.
With the Rams, Bond should push for a spot as a backup lineman, competing with other developmental linemen the Rams have brought in during recent seasons, including Barrett Jones, Brandon Washington, Sean Hooey, Mitchell Van Dyk, and Demetrius Rhaney. Bond’s size makes him a logical backup for the Rams’ massive starting guards, Greg Robinson and Rodger Saffold, both of whom are 6-foot-5 and 332 pounds. His height could give him the edge over the 6-foot-2, 320-pound Washington, who is currently penciled in as the team’s third guard. If Bond doesn’t make the active roster, he could be a candidate for the practice squad as well, though his size and raw skills may make him attractive to other teams. Meanwhile, he should get right into the swing of things with the team’s offseason program and start showing off his skills as OTAs take place next month.