With the 57th overall pick, the Rams took OT Rob Havenstein out of the University of Wisconsin. The Rams, who traded down from the No. 41 pick with the Carolina Panthers, added a lineman who’s used to paving the way for big-time running backs. But he won’t be blocking for Melvin Gordon anymore. Instead, it’ll be for Todd Gurley or Tre Mason.
Today, former Rams RT Joe Barksdale signed a 1 year 350K with up to 1 million in incentives with the Chargers. There speculations that even though the Rams drafted Havenstein that they were still interested in bringing back Barksdale. Now with Barksdale signing with the Chargers, this provides an opportunity for Havenstein to start right away, as the Rams do not have another right tackle by trade on their current roster.
Havenstein is built with a 6’7”, 321-pound frame, but despite his big frame, he finished dead last in bench press out of all of the OL at the combine. But he has never been the kind of player that tested well in drills.
The Rams focused on his tape and his impressive week at the Senior Bowl. At Wisconsin, Havenstein grabbed the right tackle gig his sophomore year and did not miss a game all of his three years starting, which is key for a Rams offensive line that continually gets bit by the injury bug. During his time at Wisconsin, he blocked for NFL running back and Timberland product Montee Ball and fellow NFL rookie Melvin Gordon. During his senior year, Havenstein had zero holding penalties called against him, which is another reason why the Rams were so high on him. The Rams OL has had its fair share of high penalty offenders including Alex Barron and Jason Smith. Scouts were surprised by his quick feet and overall athleticism for a guy his size. They also described him as a mauler and bulldozer.
The Rams have had recent success with starting rookie OT including last year’s number two overall, Greg Robinson. The only difference between the two is that it looks as if Havenstein will have to start snap number one whereas Robinson didn’t start until Week 6 last season. This gave Robinson time to understand the offense and adapt to life in the NFL. Havenstein will have to learn quickly as the Rams open up with the Seattle Seahawks who have a very good defensive line. We will have to wait and see how long the learning curve is for Havenstein, but the Rams and their fans are hoping that he can provide stability at the position for some time. However with Barksdale no longer available, Havenstein has been given an excellent opportunity to step up right away and show that he was worthy of a second round pick.
Below is a video of Havenstein highlights from his career at Wisconsin: