St. Louis Rams: Five Best Position Battles Heading into OTAs

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

2. Right Guard

Candidates: Jamon Brown, Garrett Reynolds, Andrew Donnal, Barrett Jones, Brandon Washington

One would have to think that Brown, the Rams’ third-round pick, would be the favorite to start at right guard during his rookie season. But reflecting back on the Rams’ difficulty in making Greg Robinson a guard last offseason, it’s fair to wonder if the 6-foot-6, 326-pound Brown, who hasn’t played guard since 2011, will easily be able to transition back to the interior and act as a reliable starter in Week 1. Brown had plenty of moments of weakness as the left tackle at Louisville, and he’s going to need some coaching up before he can be trusted to protect Nick Foles and propel the Rams’ running attack to success.

With that in mind, the Rams’ stable of other linemen may also be considered for the position.

The 6-foot-6, 313-pound Donnal, who the Rams took in the fourth round, may actually be able to make an easier transition to guard, as he primarily played guard for Iowa in 2013 and only had one year as a starter at tackle for the Hawkeyes, compared to three seasons as a starting tackle at Louisville for Brown. However, he’s also more raw and probably needs more coaching than Brown does just to be trusted as an NFL starter at any position.

The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Reynolds, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, played mostly tackle for the Detroit Lions but has seen plenty of previous action as a starting guard for the Atlanta Falcons and started at guard for the Lions in the 2014 postseason following an injury to starter Travis Swanson. He’s probably not going to be a productive long-term starter, but if Brown isn’t ready to go in Week 1, Reynolds may have to keep the seat warm for him until he’s ready to go.

Jones and Washington could also be candidates for the role after developing in the system for several seasons. Jones is also competing for the starting center job but doesn’t seem to be the favorite, so he also may be a possibility at guard, where he was a successful collegiate starter at Alabama. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound Washington has been with the Rams since 2012 and has gotten on the field only briefly, but at some point he’s going to have to sink or swim, and with plenty of competition this summer, it’s probably his best chance to establish himself as a real player.

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