Austin Corbett working at center as Rams figure out starting offensive line

Roster turnover has forced the Rams to consider a new option at center, and he might remain their main candidate for the job.

Austin Corbett spent this week’s OTA sessions working at center for the Rams with new quarterback Matthew Stafford, according to the Los Angeles Times. The news is a bit of a surprising development for a player who has previously only played guard in regular-season action in his career, but isn’t entirely unexpected.

Corbett arrived in Los Angeles early in the 2019 season in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, the team that spent the first pick of the second round on him in the 2018 draft. A tackle in college at Nevada, it became clear rather quickly that Corbett was destined for a life in the interior in the NFL, and he spent the 2019 camp in Cleveland working at guard and center for the Browns. Corbett lost a preseason competition to veteran Eric Kush for the starting right guard position and ended up settling in as a backup center on the depth chart with the ability to play guard, while not looking significantly stronger at one position over the other.

Cleveland proceeded to trade Corbett to the Rams in mid-October of that season after Los Angeles lost starting left guard Joe Noteboom to injury, and it didn’t take long for the Rams to turn to Corbett in place of Jamil Demby, inserting Corbett in Week 9 and starting him at the position for the remainder of the season. Corbett went on to start all 16 games at the opposite guard position in 2020, but the departure of starting center Austin Blythe to Kansas City means it might be time for Corbett to resume figuring out how to become the pivot up front.

“He and Matthew have established a nice rapport together,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Corbett and Stafford, via the Times. “I know that Austin can play really well at guard, and we’re going to continue to see what it looks like at center and try to find the best combination of five to play up front.”

The Rams are testing the waters at this point to see if Corbett is their answer at center, or if they’d be better off keeping him at guard and finding someone else to play the position. Either way, there’s going to be a bit of puzzle-piecing for the Rams to complete this summer to figure out the makeup of their offensive line. Corbett might just be the first piece placed.

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