In the typical off-season fashion, the Los Angeles Rams tinkered with their roster by claiming a former lineman with the Indianapolis Colts. The move caused the team to drop Dartmouth linebacker Folarin Orimolade.
He played right guard in his only start of 2016, Austin Blythe is listed as a center and is expected to at least be added to the position’s depth. But unless he’s made an impressive turnaround to his skill and playing ability, don’t look for Blythe to crack the starting lineup or even the final 53-man roster come September.
At Iowa, Blythe was a finalist for the Rimmington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s best center. During his time with the Colts, you would have never have guessed he was a finalist for any award if no one told you. Blythe was a 53-game starter for the Hawkeyes, and was considered to be a better run-blocking center than pass-blocker. His play was good enough to get him a seventh-round selection from Indianapolis.
But no good enough to secure his spot on the team.
The Rams will now add him to their offensive line, which is in as much need for depth as it is talent, the latter of which Blythe does not have.
Blythe lined up as a right guard for the Colts during the Week 4 London game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. From start to finish, Blythe’s day was poor, allowing Jaguar defensive linemen, specifically Malik Jackson, toss him around or drive him back to Andrew Luck’s face.
Blythe was not the lone poor spot on the Colts’ offensive line. The unit as a whole struggled, and the offense rushed for 98 yards in spite of them. But Blythe’s play was bad enough to be highlighted by Pro Football Focus during the game’s grading and recap.
As a guard, Blythe seems to lack the strength to drive defensive linemen backwards or clear the hole. There was a running play in which Blythe was supposed to break off from the double-team of a defender, and get the linebacker closing in on the running lane. Blythe, instead, was stopped in his tracks, causing the fullback to run into his back, and like an accordion, the whole play crashed and stopped dead.
Blythe will join Dhmetrius Rhaney, Jake Eldrenkamp, and John Sullivan at center.