Former University of Maine All-American offensive tackle Jamil Demby has added a new position to his resume as he prepares to start training camp this month with the Super Bowl runner-up Los Angeles Rams.
The 23-year-old Demby, who has been moved to guard in the National Football League, saw some duty as a center during the Rams’ organized team activities last month and played all interior line positions as the Rams look to develop offensive line depth.
Starting left guard Rodger Saffold signed a free-agent deal with the Tennessee Titans, and the Rams declined to pick up the option on center John Sullivan’s contract.
Joseph Noteboom has the inside track at left guard, and Brian Allen appears likely to replace Sullivan at center. Like Demby, both are second-year pros.
“It was pretty crazy at first. I didn’t really expect it,” Demby said of his temporary move to center. “I started snapping on the side and kept building from there until I started taking reps [in practice].”
Demby said that in addition to snapping the ball and blocking, the center calls out the line’s assignments.
“The center has to know a lot in our system. He’s like the second quarterback on the field. He has to check the audibles and make sure everybody knows their blocking assignments,” Demby said.
He said a lot of veteran players helped him out as did line coach Aaron Kromer and his assistants.
“They showed me how to see different coverages and all that type of stuff. It has been good. I’m excited about trying to learn everything,” he said.
Demby saw considerable time at left tackle with the first unit because 37-year-old starter Andrew Whitworth was given some days off.
“It was definitely a good thing to gain that chemistry with the starting offensive line,” Demby said. “It helped my confidence.”
Demby said if he can prove himself at multiple positions, it will help his chances to earn a roster spot.
“If I can continue to develop my versatility and become a swing guy, that will be good for me and good for them,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever I have to in order to put myself in the best position.
“It has always been in my mind to be ready to be able to play all five line positions.”
Demby was drafted in the sixth round by the Rams a year ago and played in all four exhibition games before being released. He signed with the Detroit Lions and was on their practice squad before the Rams regained his services later in the season.
He was on the roster for their Super Bowl game with the New England Patriots but was not activated for the game. He never appeared in a regular-season game last year.
In a story on Ramswire, Kromer said, “[Demby] had the opportunity to go away and come back, and we both appreciate each other more from that separation and that has allowed us to grow at a faster rate. Jamil has gotten reps at all five positions, so we feel strongly about what he has done in the offseason.
“Obviously, games are more important than these practices in no pads, but we feel really good about him,” Kromer said.
Demby said his time spent in Detroit was valuable because he learned a different system and techniques.
He said he had a productive summer working out with trainer Rich White in New Jersey and at the Proactive Sports Performance facility in California, which is near where he lives. He also ran a football clinic for youngsters in his native Vineland, New Jersey.
The 6-foot-4 ½, 315-pound Demby, a second-team All-American and first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association choice, said returning to the Rams will be beneficial as he prepares for the team’s first training-camp practice July 27 at the University of California Irvine.
He knows what to expect and has built friendships with his teammates.
“I’ve learned so much. I’ll be much more comfortable. I’m excited,” Demby said.