Finding Isaiah Battle's fit with the St. Louis Rams

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams added a final exclamation point on their offseason approach to revamping the offensive line last week when they used a supplemental fifth-round pick on Clemson offensive tackle Isaiah Battle.

Adding Battle to the mix brings the total number of offensive linemen the Rams have drafted this year to five. That's right, if the Rams wanted to they could have an entire line full of rookies. Of course, that is not the team's plan, though it's also not far off given the lack of experience among the linemen.

As it stands, the Rams have a group of 15 linemen with a combined total of 103 starts. Of that group, Rodger Saffold is responsible for 60 of those, with backup Garrett Reynolds owning 27 and second-year left tackle Greg Robinson with 12. In other words, there appears to be plenty of opportunity for any and all newcomers.

But in Battle's case, it would seem that his chances to come in and compete right away are slim. At least that's how general manager Les Snead made it sound in the team's press release after drafting Battle.

"We felt it was an opportunity to get an earlier-round value for a later-round price," Snead said. "He's going to practice what would’ve been his final year of college eligibility with us, go through our offseason program, and then start his rookie season a year from now. This will allow us to bring him along gradually both on and off the field. Now it’s up to Isaiah and us to go work to reach his potential as a person and player."

Unlike fellow rookie linemen Robert Havenstein, Jamon Brown, Andrew Donnal and Cody Wichmann, Battle comes without the extensive starting college experience that Snead and the Rams seemed to covet when going through the regular draft process in April and May. He started 11 games for the Tigers in 2014 and appeared in 27 through his three-year college career.

In other words, Battle didn't have the opportunities to gain the polish of players such as Havenstein and Brown, both of whom are projected starters as the Rams head to training camp. That is why Snead basically has already declared that 2015 will be a de facto redshirt season for Battle.

To be clear, when Snead says Battle will practice with the team as though 2015 was his final year of college and start his rookie season a year from now, that doesn't mean the Rams will have the benefit of stashing him on the practice squad without going through usual procedure.

In the short term, don't expect Battle to do much aside from learn and develop, but he could become a legitimate piece of the team's offensive line down the road. ESPN Insider Steve Muench posted that Battle could be a contender for the right tackle job with Havenstein and though he might not win it right away, he possesses more upside long term.

So while it seems the Rams don't have appear to have the intention of playing Battle this season, they seem to have plans for him in 2016 and beyond.