Rams Rookie Preview: Andrew Donnal, Offensive Line
Andrew Donnal was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the fourth round, 119th overall, out of Iowa. Donnal was the third offensive lineman selected in almost as many rounds. St. Louis struggled mightily on the offensive line in 2014 allowing 47 sacks and failed to do much helping the run game. The overhaul of the offensive line begins now, and Donnal will look to contribute.
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Donnal played all four years at Iowa. He played both tackle and guard on the right side. In 2012 Donnal suffered a torn ACL, something that has limited him slightly since. However, in 2014 Donnal was an All-Big Ten honorable mention and started all 13 games at right tackle. Donnal had an average combine, but posted solid numbers in the 20-yard shuttle (4.7 secs), and the vertical jump (32 in.).
Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive linesman Andrew Donnal (78) against the LSU Tigers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Scouts rave about Donnal’s technique and football IQ. He needs both of these attributes to help cover up some of his deficiencies. He lacks power from the snap, and sometimes finds himself too low in the pocket. Without a very mobile quarterback currently on the Rams roster, this may become a liability. With average size, he was occasionally pushed around at the college level and struggled to open holes for the run game.
Coming from Iowa will help Donnal as he enters the NFL. A program noted for producing top tier NFL lineman, combined with Donnal’s deep understanding of the game should make this a worthwhile pick.
These limitations lead to a 5th/6th round draft grade on Donnal leading up to this years draft. The Rams stepped up in the fourth round and selected Donnal. Some may view this as a stretch, but given the urgency of overhauling the line, the Rams needed to make some moves to plug holes. Don’t look for Donnal to be a week one starter, or a starter at all without serious injuries at other positions, but he may provide depth and rotation.