How T Mitchell Van Dyk Fits with the St. Louis Rams

Steven GerwelContributor IIIMay 10, 2014

Sep 7, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears defensive lineman Deandre Coleman (91) holds off Portland State Vikings offensive linesman Cornelius Edison (77) and offensive linesman Mitch Gaulke (66) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams were in need of offensive line help entering the draft, and the team has done more than enough to fill the demand. 

In the first round with the No. 2 overall draft pick, the Rams grabbed Greg Robinson out of Auburn. Robinson is a mauling run-blocker and an immediate starter. 

The Rams even considered jumping back into Round 1 for Notre Dame's Zach Martin, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, so the team was clearly interested in landing additional offensive line help beyond Robinson. 

Eventually, St. Louis found more offensive line help after drafting a raw but talented prospect in tackle Mitchell Van Dyk out of Portland State with the 226th overall pick in Round 7. 

Van Dyk is somewhat undersized at 299 pounds, but at 6'7", he has a great frame and should be more than capable of adding 10 to 15 pounds of beef. 

In fact, ESPN's Nick Wagoner spoke to Van Dyk, and he has apparently been working on the weight already:

Van Dyk clarified his height and weight "6-8, 315 pounds."

— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) May 10, 2014

The Rams lost starting offensive guards Chris Williams and Harvey Dahl in free agency. Van Dyk plays tackle, but he'll undoubtedly help soften the blow of losing those two veterans. 

The final round of the draft is all about finding undervalued, small-school players who have under-the-radar NFL talent, and Van Dyk fits the bill. 

Making the team will be an uphill battle, but here's how he fits in with the team.


Van Dyk For the Rams

According to Van Dyk's Portland State profile, he was a three-year starter for the school, with most of his experience coming as a right tackle. 

That's very ideal for St. Louis. Now that Rodger Saffold has made the transition to guard, the Rams need another right tackle to back up starter Joe Barksdale. 

The Rams have plenty of options if Barksdale goes down. Saffold can always return to tackle, and Robinson can certainly jump from guard to tackle if needed. Van Dyk is simply one more player to throw in the mix, giving the team more breathing room. 

Like many seventh-round talents, Van Dyk is basically an unknown commodity, and little information is available on his talents. We'll just have to wait for training camp to arrive before we know what he's truly capable of. 

In fact, Van Dyk himself was surprised that he was drafted at all, according to ESPN's Wagoner

Mitchell Van Dyk said he didn't expect to get drafted. Appreciate his honesty.

— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) May 10, 2014

Even though his draft-day expectations were in the gutter, there's no reason to believe he doesn't have a shot at making the team. 

If he's not ready for game day in Year 1, the Rams can always stash him on the practice squad, allow him to develop a few years and go from there. 


Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and serves as the Rams' game-day correspondent. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or by following him on Twitter.