What the addition of LG Jonah Jackson means for Steve Avila

The Los Angeles Rams made sure to prevent Kevin Dotson from hitting the free-agent market by signing him to a three-year deal worth $48 million last week. It was a big move for the interior of their offensive line, but they didn’t stop there.

On the first day of the legal tampering period, the Rams agreed to a three-year deal worth $51 million with guard Jonah Jackson. It came as a huge surprise, especially considering the Rams already have a standout left guard, Steve Avila.

The addition of Jackson will have a big impact on Avila’s role moving forward. Assuming Jackson will remain at left guard like he has for the last four seasons, Avila will move to center. That’s actually his natural position, having started there for TCU in 2020 and 2021 before moving to guard in 2022.

There’s also a possibility that the Rams will try Jackson at center, a position he played for one year in college at Rutgers. That seems less likely, given Avila’s dominance at center with the Horned Frogs, but it remains on the table.

Los Angeles now has three quality starting-caliber guards on its roster. A trio of Jackson at left guard, Avila at center and Dotson at right guard is one of the best in the NFL, and that’s something the Rams envision helping their offense immensely – particularly in the running game where all three players have excelled.

In college, Avila earned a 75.8 grade as a center in 2020 and 81.3 in 2021, proving to be one of the better players at that position in the entire country. He only allowed four sacks in two years as a starting center, giving up only two other hits on the QB during that span.

Jackson has allowed 120 pressures at left guard in his NFL career and only 11 sacks in four seasons, but he’s at his best in the running game. According to PFF, he had run-blocking grades of 70.3 in 2022 and 76.4 in 2021, never finishing a season with a grade below 58.2 in that department.

The Rams have a trio of road-graders on the interior, which must have Kyren Williams smiling from ear to ear. Matthew Stafford should be thrilled, too, knowing he’ll rarely have defenders pressuring him up the middle.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire