Former Rams exec Holmes saw "It," the first time he saw Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Do the LA Rams miss former personnel executive Brad Holmes? There are indications that may be the case, but I don't want to go too far down that road. What I do want to feature in this article is the fact that some prospects, some college players who have never played a single down in the NFL, have that 'elite' aura about them.

And it takes a special type of scout to see, recognize, and most of all, share the enthusiasm and excitement effective to persuade the team to afford a chance to that player. And now, yes, Rams Brad Holmes was clearly the right guy to send to scout out no other than the great one, Aaron Donald.

Of course, once he put on the pads and stepped onto an NFL football field, everyone could tell that he had that 'it,' factor'. After all, Aaron Donald has been a true NFL show-stopping, game-changing type of athlete who has averaged nearly 11.5 quarterback sacks and nearly 54.5 tackles for each and every one of his nine NFL seasons so far. Not impressed? How about averaging 17.8 tackles for a loss each season, or 26.3 quarterback hits per season?

Aaron Donald is an epic NFL player

Those are the type of numbers that get a defensive lineman to the Pro Bowl. But for Aaron Donald, it's just another average year. And it's that elite level of production that is both the boon and bane of being such an incredible NFL player. It's a bane in that it draws double and triple teams from opposing offensive linemen on a regular basis. And if there is any season that does not best the previous season's production, many ask if he's lost a step or his desire to play in the NFL.

It's a boon because he keeps putting up those crazy insane numbers. Play after play, game after game, year after year, he rages like the Incredible Hulk.

Sure, it's easy to say he is a great NFL player now. but at the time he was viewed as a risk because he was not the ideal NFL height to play on the defensive line. 12 NFL teams passed him by, including the very own Rams team with the second pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. If not for Brad Holmes, the LA Rams may not have picked Aaron Donald with the 13th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Who will be the next Aaron Donald for the LA Rams? Will there even be another Aaron Donald for the LA Rams? I don't have the answer. But keep this in mind. Aaron Donald was not a consensus by any means. He was a player that Brad Holmes was sold on, and it was Holmes optimism and enthusiasm that turned the entire Rams organization to select Aaron Donald. That changed the trajectory of the entire team.

Optimism is not just a pipe dream. Until you see it, you can never be it. You may not be so optimistic in your assessment of the LA Rams or of a certain player, and that's okay. But don't be that person who shouts down someone who may be onto the next Aaron Donald. The future may be wide open. But the past is very unforgiving.