Rams take TCU’s Steve Avila to help rebuild offensive line
TARZANA, Calif. (AP) - The Los Angeles Rams were gutted by injuries on the offensive line last season, ultimately using 13 different starting combinations in 17 games.
They looked to address those issues by selecting TCU guard Steve Avila in the second round with the 36th overall pick of the NFL draft on Friday night.
Avila played every position except left tackle during his five seasons with the Horned Frogs, earning consensus All-America honors at left guard as a redshirt senior in 2022.
"I couldn’t really tell you where the versatility comes from," Avila said in a video teleconference from Fort Worth, Texas. "I know it started right when I got to college because that whole year I was playing right tackle for the scout team. … It’s great, you know, for an organization that can have an offensive lineman that can move around, and I take very much pride in doing so."
A key piece up front during TCU’s unexpected run to the College Football Playoff title game, which it lost to Georgia, Avila did not allow a sack during his last two seasons in college.
The Rams’ issues on the offensive line were a major reason for their dismal defense of their Super Bowl title. They were near the bottom of the league in most categories, including finishing 31st in yards per play (4.76) and last in total offense (280.5).
It was especially telling that Los Angeles allowed a sack on 11.1% of dropbacks, which ranked second-to-last in the NFL.
The Rams did not have a first-round pick because of a January 2021 trade with Detroit for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who directed the win in Super Bowl LVI in their home stadium.
TCU didn’t fare as well in its championship game at SoFi Stadium, but the 6-foot-4, 330-pound Avila is looking forward to better times with the Rams.
"I always find myself going to Los Angeles, or California in general, and I love the state," he said.