Should the LA Rams consider an offensive role for Aaron Donald?

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

LA Rams All-Pro DL Aaron Donald toys with the idea of offensive assignment. Should he go O?

Whenever the NFL welcomes an athlete who can dominate in several sports or several positions, there is always the lure of expanding the role of a single player to make more frequent use of those physical advantages.  Prime Time Deion Sanders played both cornerback and wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. William “The Refridgerator” Perry became a fullback for the Chicago Bears on goal-line packages.

Of course, some of that two-sided play was due to the surprise factor, some are attributable to the sheer marketing factor that would benefit the NFL attraction to new fans, and new merchandising. But none of that matters unless and until it works.  Once it does, the NFL suddenly finds itself with one more reason to tune in, show up, and buy the jersey.

AD = TD?

So imagine the frenzy for LA Rams fans, and the NFL in general, if All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald would suddenly show up in an offensive play. Now imagine if he scores on that play?  The hoopla would be pretty impressive, perhaps even a bit overwhelming.

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But there will be a great deal of temptation on the LA Rams part to consider a gimmick play of that magnitude. After all, the NFL organization faces playing a part or even all of the 2020 NFL season in empty stadiums. Of course, the worst-case scenario is simply no football at all in 2020. However it plays out, the LA Rams will be in the same boat as the entire NFL, a team with a severe revenue deficit. That creates inspired, innovative, and creative solutions.  Imagine a new line of merchandising gear rolled out for the Aaron Donald offensive role?

Rewards come with risks

Of course, the idea of Aaron Donald reaching out for a touchdown pass, or lumbering into the end zone with the football safely tucked away is lots of fun in theory. But if any offensive-oriented play resulted in an injury to Donald, you can bet there would be an outrage equal to or greater than the excitement caused by any scoring he may make.

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So the risks must be weighed against the rewards.  In the end, it will come down as to whether Aaron Donald on offense is just a marketing gimmick or a bona fide matter of improving the odds of the LA Rams’ chance of scoring. There’s no denying that watching Aaron Donald score a game-winning touchdown would be a real thrill, just as witnessing him fall to injury on an offensive play would be heartbreaking. Will the Rams explore Aaron Donald on offense?  If Donald insists that the team does so, probably yes.  But don’t look for any Aaron Donald sightings near the goal line. At least not just yet.