Andrew Whitworth should be a massive upgrade for Rams line
Even at $33.8 million over three years, the Rams got a bargain in the free-agent acquisition of offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Whitworth’s only negative is age – 35 years old – but he is still playing at an elite level and represents a colossal upgrade over Greg Robinson, a former first-round draft pick who has struggled badly thus far in his NFL career.
Robinson has surrendered 18 sacks over the past three years, starting since he was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2014 draft. He has also been flagged at least 10 times every season and struggled with run-blocking too.
Since Robinson came into the league, here is how he compares statistically with Whitworth:
In that time, Robinson has four games of perfect pass protection, and in none of the four did he escape without a penalty to his name. Whitworth had six perfect games of pass protection in 2016 alone, and in only one of those was he flagged.
Whitworth’s play overall has been a model of consistency — not just recently, but over his entire career, and particularly over the past eight seasons. He may rarely have been the best tackle in the game, but he has just as rarely been outside the top three at any given time.
The most interesting aspect of this move is when Whitworth’s inevitable decline will hit. At 35 years old, he is already defying convention by playing as well as he is. When players hit the wall erected by Father Time at the end of their careers, it can tend to happen fast, so the Rams are gambling a little that Whitworth’s arrest is still some way off in the future. Ultimately that is the part that none of us can reliably predict, but in the short term at least they have succeeded in a massive upgrade at their left tackle spot.