LA Rams Bobby Wagner – Aaron Donald pairing? Epically effective

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The problem with being an NFL superstar like LA Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is that he is the focal point of the fans, the cameras, and the offense. We know that opposing offensive coordinators design entire game plans around stopping Aaron Donald, and yet he remains among the NFL statistical leaders.

But it comes at a price. To beat double teams and triple teams at the line of scrimmage, he must play that cat-and-mouse game of holding his ground to stop a potential running play to the spot where he just vacated and going all out to sack the quarterback. That guessing game at the line of scrimmage is frequently the reason why Donald is not breathing down a quarterback’s neck.

But the times, they are a’ changing. Imagine this scenario if you would.  Aaron Donald lines up at the line of scrimmage and takes the outside route against two blockers to skirt past them on his way to the backfield. The running back pivots and takes an inside path to the spot that has been vacated by the now full steam forward Donald.

In the past, that could have gone for seven yards and a first down.

Now? Waiting with bated breath is Bobby Wagner, who meets the running back in the hole and drops him like a rock for little to no gain. Far fetched? I don’t think so.

Wagner has never played in a defensive setting where he was not the primary focus of the offensive game plan. In the LA Rams defense, that means that he will have the opportunity to play mop-up at the line of scrimmage in a way he has not enjoyed before. While I won’t project an NFL record-setting performance by Wagner, I think that the combination of Donald and Wagner will enhance both players.

While Wagners beats the snot out of running backs, Donald will have a much greater opportunity to hunt his favorite prey: NFL quarterbacks.

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