Aaron Donald as LA Rams FB is so nuts, it just may work

Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports /

If you have ever seen LA Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald recover a fumble and lumber back for a touchdown or even a big gain, you had to eventually ask yourself that inevitable question: Why can’t the LA Rams try something like that on offense? Well, the brutally honest answer is that they can, but haven’t.

And of course, that makes perfect sense. Why pay a guy at the top non-quarterback in the NFL wage scale only to make him a fullback?  That is just going to happen. But oh, those fumble recovery runbacks do tempt the imagination, don’t they? Like this one:

So the theory is intriguing, but putting the plan into practice is where things go a bit awry. So how can we salvage such a fun concept?  Perhaps we apply the fullback principle to a different player. So who can deliver that thundering red zone power running?  We have three candidates.

LA Rams power back prospects

Defensive lineman Greg Gaines has been described as part gazelle and part rhinoceros, and that pretty much is the perfect description for what the LA Rams would like to put on the football field for third-down and short, or for that one or two-yard plunge to punch the football into the end zone. While he may be a bit unique to the role, he has all of the raw characteristics that would be absolutely thrilling to view.

On paper, the role of fullback for the LA Rams is such a natural fit for defensive lineman Michael Hoecht that I almost feel like the role was made for him. Hoecht is big and powerful, fast and agile, and he has a background in playing in the offensive backfield. That seems to be a perfect set-up, doesn’t it?

Well, on paper perhaps. Hoecht is fast enough, big enough, and powerful enough. But he is not quite there on the defensive line side of the equation. A big-body fullback would be a tough sell for a guy who is still trying to master the intricacies of flourishing on the defensive front.

There is one player who plays well on the defensive line and could be a helluva handful out of the offensive backfield, and that player is defensive lineman Marquise Copland. Copeland stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 285-pounds of muscle. Unless you’ve brought a handful of other guys, nobody is going to single-handedly bring down this juggernaut.

His form is solid, and there really are no true openings on his form that allows defenders to get a good hold and bring him to the ground. Perhaps a shoelace tackle, but even those risk injury to a defender’s arm.

Will it ever happen? Probably not. But every now and then I will put up the video of Aaron Donald running with the football and looking unstoppable. Just to get my fullback fix satiated.

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