How C Demetrius Rhaney Fits with Rams

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVMay 11, 2014

Nov 2, 2013; Birmingham, AL, USA;  Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders tight end Jacob Corbaley (83) picks up kicker Cody Clark (88) after Clark kicked the winning field goal against the UAB Blazers at Legion Field. The Blue Raiders defeat the Blazers 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams entered the draft determined to beef up the offensive line, as well as the depth behind the starters. 

Center Demetrius Rhaney—St. Louis' final selection of the draft—is yet another lineman capable of improving St. Louis' protection and run game in the upcoming season. 

The Rams grabbed Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson in the first round at No. 2 overall. Robinson is a dominate talent and instantly turns the St. Louis line into a strength, so some presumed Robinson would be the only upgrade to the line from this class. 

However, following the first round, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Rams attempted to move back into the first round to grab Notre Dame lineman Zack Martin. 

That report alerted the fans and indicated that the Rams were highly interested in pursuing additional offensive line help. 

The Rams did not secure any mid-round offensive linemen, but St. Louis did select a huge small-school prospect out of Portland State—offensive tackle Mitchell Van Dyk. 

Rhaney, of course, was the icing. The Rams now have a competent group of rookie linemen to bring into training camp. 

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Rhaney, a product of small-school Tennessee State, was a two-year starter, according to his school biography

He stands in at 6'2" and 301 pounds—a perfect size for a center—and is very quick for a lineman his size. 

Rhaney has solid strength and fast movements, but unfortunately, he has that small-school athleticism. He's not a naturally dominate athlete, so he'll have to rely on his superb work ethic and strength to get ahead. 

The seventh round is a perfect place to take a flyer on a small-school unknown with underrated skills, and the Rams found a solid candidate here. 

How Rhaney Fits With the Rams

Fortunately for the Rams, and Rhaney, the weak spot of the St. Louis offensive line is at center. 

The Rams have two solid starters at tackle in Jake Long and Joe Barksdale, and the guard spots will be occupied by Robinson and Rodger Saffold. 

However, as mentioned, the spot in need of an upgrade is center. The position is manned by veteran Scott Wells, but the 33-year-old veteran has missed 13 games in his last two seasons. He's at the end of the line. 

Third-year pro Tim Barnes has some starting experience for the Rams and is a contender for the job, but Barnes can certainly be upgraded. 

If Rhaney wants to make the squad, he'll have to at least outplay second-year pro Barrett Jones.

Jones can play virtually every position on the line, so he'll have other opportunities to prove his worth. But if Rhaney can prove he's a better center than Jones, the Rams will have use for him.

It's unlikely that a small-school player from the seventh round will make the roster in Year 1, at least if we're being honest.

Chances are, Rhaney's best-case-scenario has him working on the practice squad for a year or two.

Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is one of the best in the league. If Rhaney can work with Boudreau on the practice squad for a few years and fine-tune his game, he'll have a shot at making the roster in the future.

It's not a flashy pick for the Rams, but the Rhaney selection is a solid end to the draft.  

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.

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