Which St. Louis Rams Rookie Has Been The Most Impressive


While listening to the game on the radio yesterday and after watching the last couple of games, it’s hard not to notice  what a great class of rookies the St. Louis Rams drafted last year. Although they have had some good picks in the past with the help of the infamous Robert Griffin III trade, this class may be the best one yet.

While the Rams didn’t hit on every draft pick(see Garrett Gilbert), they drafted a great corps of guys who are going to play a big role and make plays for this team for years to come.

This group is finally starting to mature and come into their own. Rookies such as Aaron Donald, Tre Mason, and E.J. Gaines have been especially impressive as of late, but others such as Lamarcus Joyner and Greg Robinson have made an impact as well. With all of that said, which Rams rookie has been the most impressive in 2014?

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald hasnt just been impressive, he is arguably in the running for defensive rookie of the year. Taken at number 13 because of his size, Donald has proven all of his critics wrong and all of his supporters right.

Currently, Donald ranks as the highest rated defensive tackle on Pro Football Focus(subscription required), ahead of all-pros such as Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, and among the other defensive tackles taken in the draft, it’s not even close.

[table id=6 /]

Even though the Rams took a player in an area with plenty of depth, I don’t think you could ask one Rams fan who hasn’t been happy with the Donald pick. In fact in Bleacher Report’s rookie rankings, Donald came in as fourth, and is the best rookie defensive tackle

Donald has completely taken over for veteran Kendall Langford and taken what was an already good defense line and made it better. Donald is going to be fun to watch for many years to come, and it’s only a matter of time before he makes a Pro Bowl and becomes and all-pro.

Tre Mason

Zac Stacy piled up 954 yards in a total of ten starts in 2013. Many people, including myself, wondered what the point of drafting another running back was. Well, after watching Mason the last couple of weeks, I see what Jeff Fisher saw in Tre Mason. Mason is capable of creating explosive plays and in Sunday’s win against the Raiders, Mason’s 35 yard touchdown reception and his 89 yard touchdown run defined explosiveness.

At one point Stacy had the same look as Mason against the Raiders. In Stacy’s case he hit the cutback lane a millisecond late and picked up a 15 yard gain moving the chains. In Mason’s case he hits the lane and takes it 89 yards for a touchdown. That is the difference between Stacy and Mason.

[table id=7 /]

What’s impressive is similar to what was so impressive with Zac Stacy a season ago. What Tre Mason has done in the small sample size that he has given is quite amazing. Looking at the stats from the other rookie running backs, you would have never known that Mason didn’t get any snaps until week seven.

Mason may only be ranked fifth in Bleacher Report’s rookie running back rankings, but its only a matter of time before he jumps up into at least the top three.

E.J. Gaines

E.J. Gaines may not only be one of the more impressive Rams rookies, he may be the biggest steal out of the entire draft. Taken all the way in the sixth round, the Rams have a cornerback that can flat-out play on the outside.

He’s versatile, tough and fundamentally drilled.  As a sixth round selection who was the 188th pick overall, Gaines could turn out to be the best draft steal in St. Louis Rams history.

[table id=8 /]

Gaines is the 20th highest ranked cornerback on Pro Football Focus(subscription required) out of 116, ranks fourth in most passes defended, and fifth in most tackles.

The Rams now have three top cornerbacks with Gaines, Jenkins, and Johnson. Bleacher Report ranks Gaines as the top cornerback in the draft class, and for a sixth round pick, I’d say the Rams got pretty good value.


It’s difficult to decide who has been the most impressive rookie this season as Donald, Mason, and Gaines have all been just that. However, when you take into account the value that the Rams got for the player, the impact they’ve had on the field, and their expectations going into the season,  it’s hard not to say that Gaines has been the most impressive

As mentioned above this is a player that the Rams drafted in the sixth round that has the capability to start and hold his own. Gaines has given the Rams much-needed depth and physicality in the secondary.

This isn’t to say Donald and Mason haven’t been impressive as they certainly have been, however taking in value and the effect that he’s had on the field, I have to say Gaines has been the most impressive.