INDIANAPOLIS — Released by the Arizona Cardinals during final cuts on Sept. 2, Evan Boehm was looking for an opportunity to truly grow as an offensive lineman.
When the Los Angeles Rams called and offered him a spot on their practice squad, Boehm envisioned going against the best interior defensive lineman in the game, Aaron Donald, as well as guys like Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers, every day in practice.
How couldn’t he get better going against guys like that?
So Boehm signed onto the Rams’ practice squad on Sept. 4, knowing his next NFL opportunity could be right around the corner.
As it turned out, that opportunity came calling on Monday.
The Indianapolis Colts, with starting right guard Matt Slauson being placed on injured reserve with a back injury, were in need of someone who, like Slauson, could provide much-needed depth at guard, as well as at center.
The team signed Boehm from the Rams’ practice squad, and he immediately gets a chance to compete — just like he did every day for the past month-plus against Donald, Suh and crew.
“You know, from that experience, one of the reasons I went to L.A. is to go against Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Ndamukong Suh, and just trying to get better with my technique and my blocking trying to go against those guys every day,” Boehm told Colts.com on Wednesday. “So going out there and doing that stuff, it was tough, but I think I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to do to get better and to block the elite guys like that.”
For his part, Boehm said he’s a “smart, physical guy that likes to get in there and just do what he needs to do to get the job done, and whatever it takes to help this team out and get victories.”
The Cardinals certainly saw those attributes in Boehm back in 2016, when they selected him in the fourth round (128th overall) in that year’s NFL Draft.
He would appear in all 16 games his rookie season — making one start at right guard — and also competed in 15 games with eight starts last year in Arizona under then-head coach Bruce Arians, and then this past offseason under new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
Mix those experiences in with what Boehm has been able to absorb from the likes of Rams head coach Sean McVay — considered one of the best offensive minds in the game — and the Missouri product says he’s had somewhat of a a head start learning the Colts’ offense the past couple days.
“There’s definitely some similarities to the offense that I ran under B.A. (Bruce Arians) for the last two years, some similarities between what I learned under (Mike) McCoy during camp and OTAs and all that stuff,” Boehm said. “So there, I mean, that kind of clears some stuff up for me for the basic stuff and what I need to get down. I won’t learn it in two days, but hopefully by Sunday, if something happens and I need to get thrown in there, I think I’d be pretty confident.”
One factor undoubtedly helping Boehm is his versatility. At Missouri, he started all 12 games as a freshman at left guard before moving over to center for his final three years, and he’s had exposure to both guard and center at the professional level.
Boehm was even used on occasion as a fullback in some Cardinals packages.
“I think that’s huge,” Boehm said when asked about playing multiple positions. “Especially if you know how to switch your feet and play both, and I think that the center position really helps that out with being able to kick right, being able to kick left — doing your steps that way. So I think versatility is huge in doing whatever I can, and being thrown in to do whatever I can to get victories with this team.”