Grateful to the Washington Redskins, the St. Louis Rams will have two first round draft picks come next Thursday. The Redskins pick, that now belongs to the Rams is in the top five at number two, whereas the actual Rams pick is at number 13.
At number two the Rams have a number of options. They could do anything from trade back to take one of the best players in the draft. At number 13, the Rams have even more options, however the most popular one is for the Rams to address the secondary at that spot.
That should definitely be something the Rams address in the draft at some point, as it was the weakest spot on their defense. However, where the Rams should really take a strong look at is on the defensive line at Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Theoretically, the Rams don’t NEED a defensive tackle as they have two players that can do more than just get the job done inside with Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers. But if the Rams want to take that defensive line to the next level, taking Donald at 13 is a must.
Ive posted before that Kendall Langford may be the most underrated player on the Rams defense, but unfortunately in this situation, that is exactly who is being replaced. Donald at 22, has much more upside than Langford at 28, and there is no way the Rams would move Brockers.
Donald is a smaller defensive tackle at 6’0, 284-lbs, but he has great work ethic which a huge reason for his success. Donald has been compared to Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins and some have even gone as far as comparing him to Vikings Hall of Famer John Randle given his smaller size.
According to Ian Rapoport of nfl.com, one AFC executive said that Donald is the best defense tackle to come out in 10-years.
“Geno Atkins … I think he’s done a lot with his play in the NFL to boost the stock of Aaron Donald, who plays a similar type of game,” NFL Media analyst Charles Davis recently said. “Less than 300 pounds, but he gets up field and makes plays. He could work as that under tackle.”
Donald would be an absolute perfect fit for the Rams’ 4-3 defense that wasn’t statistically terrible against the run last season, but was inconsistent and allowed an alarming 18 rushing touchdowns last season which was tied for the 5th worst in the NFL.
Like top defensive line prospect, Jadeveon Clowney, Donald also dealt with double teams all last season. However, unlike Clowney, Donald still ended up with 59 tackles, 11 sacks, was the NCAA leader in tackles for loss, and collected nearly every major defensive award along the way.
The Rams don’t really need the extra cap space at this point in time, but there is no point in paying Langford $4-million this year and $6-million next year to simply be a rotational depth player. The Rams would either need to renegotiate with Langford or cut or trade him.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Darqueze Dennard would be nice options for the Rams and would help patch up the secondary, but if the Rams want a game changing player that can make an immediate impact, Donald is their guy.
The Rams need to address the defensive tackle position at some point in the draft. Although depth at defensive tackle is a need and Donald doesn’t bring that as he would start. But when you have the opportunity to draft a player that will make a difference, the Rams will need to strongly consider it.