The St. Louis Rams finished the trade with the Washington Redskins by selecting Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the 13th overall pick. As if the Rams needed another potential all-pro defensive tackle on their defensive line.
Given the talent surrounding Donald, there is no question the rookie will have plenty of opportunities to succeed especially given the matchup advantages with teams focused on stopping Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Donald is capable of taking over a game and will be able to do that at the NFL level which is exactly what the Rams needed on the interior of their defensive line and why they selected him early despite not really needing another defensive lineman.
Given the fact that Donald has a lot of talent surrounding him and that he is another high-motor on this defensive line whose effort may be even better than his talent. It’s hard to help but wonder if Donald can win defensive rookie of the year and if he can take this defensive line to the next level. The rookie defensive tackle will have plenty of opportunities to succeed as a rookie and he is a talented player that looks to burst onto the scene right away.
According to sportsinsights.com Donald has the fourth best odds to win defensive rookie of the year in this class behind only Ryan Shazier, Khalil Mack, and Jadeveon Clowney. Really this is anyone’s competition, but given the talent around Donald, he really could stand out from the rest.
So far in camp, Donald has been impressive to say the least
“When he reported with the rookies, the offensive line couldn’t block him,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “It was consistently, play after play after play, whether it was run or pass, what the protection was.”
Aaron Donald continues to impress. He’s so fast off the snap that he’s into his first move before the OL can even get his hands up. #Rams
— Anthony Stalter (@AnthonyStalter) August 2, 2014
Just got this text from Rams’ practice: “Aaron Donald is unreal.” — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 26, 2014
Taking a look at history, the odds say that Donald will not win the award and that it will most likely be a linebacker as the position has won the a wad 24 of its 47 years of existence while defensive tackle has only won the award six times, the last time being Ndamukong Suh in 2010 and before that a defensive tackle hadn’t won the award since 1994. However, Sheldon Richardson a defensive lineman, did win the award last season, and there is no reason to think that Donald can’t do the same, make just as much of an impact, and have similar numbers. Richardson had four sacks last season along with five quarterback hits, 24 quarterback hurries, 52 tackles, and 41 stops in 2013. Donald excels in making plays behind the line of scrimmage and that has shown up in camp. If that translates into the regular season, it should be expected for Donald to have five or more sacks, harass the quarterback, and make plays in the backfield which should be enough to win defensive rookie of the year. There is no question that Donald has the talent and potential to win the award, all he has to do is go out and do it. It is an understatement to say that the St. Louis Rams have a talented defensive line. With Chris Long, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, and now Donald, this defensive line is headed towards something special. Robert Quinn’s season last year and Donald being a favorite to win defensive rookie of the year may only be the beginning.