Andrew Whitworth should be a massive upgrade for Rams line

Los Angeles signed the ex-Bengal in free agency, and PFF Senior Analyst Sam Monson says he should be strong as long as he can hold off Father Time.

| 2 months ago
(Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

(Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

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:

Sam 1

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.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Guess I’m one of the few people that didn’t like this signing. The Rams are at least 3 years away from being any kind of contender for a championship so it would make sense for them to build up their offense through the draft. Whitworth was going to be an upgrade for just about any team he went to but his being a starter for the Rams means a delay in developing a younger prospect. If age does catch up with Whitworth do the Rams keep reaching for OL veterans on the wrong side of 30? The Rams should be thinking long term here.

    • Samuel Shaw

      Rams need to be able to assess Goff by the end of this season or next though. Giving him more than half a second to actually show that he is becoming or can become a competent QB without being hit by a defensive end is going to be helpful in that respect. Even if Whitworth isn’t going to win a Superbowl with the Rams, he might give them a shot at developing Goff to the point where Goff can.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I think the change of coaches will help Goff more than acquiring Whitworth (though that won’t hurt). Fisher was clueless and undermined the confidence of the young QB. The new staff can bring him along the way the Raiders have done with Carr.

    • Josh Hardin

      That may be but they also have to protect Goff. You can build through the draft but it would be nice if when “building” is done Goff isnt broken like Bradford was.