When the St. Louis Rams line up on Sundays this fall, their defensive line is going to look like a dream team creation in franchise mode of Madden. As if it wasn’t enough to have sack masters like Robert Quinn and Chris Long coming off the edge, now the selection of Aaron Donald at No. 13 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft takes this unit to the next level. Sack records will be shattered in the upcoming season, and NFC West quarterbacks probably have their fingernails gnawed off already.
Though the secondary was the main weakness for the Rams a year ago, the best way to mask that deficiency is by not giving opposing passers time to survey the field and deliver timely throws. The entire defensive line in St. Louis, with the aforementioned Quinn and Long as well as defensive tackle Michael Brockers, is now composed entirely of first-round picks for the Rams – and pretty high ones at that.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would have made sense as the pick here, but clearly the Rams valued the defensive tackle position more than safety on their board. The depth at both positions isn’t great in this draft class, but there’s no question Donald ranked higher on most big boards than Clinton-Dix.
Another potential benefit to this selection is the flexibility that it could afford the Rams in terms of the salary cap. Kendall Langford was a cap casualty candidate already this offseason, and this selection puts him one foot out the door with his substantial cap number next season.
Adding Donald to the draft haul that includes left tackle Greg Robinson at No. 2 overall shows that the Rams are focusing in the right place in the draft – the trenches. This team was soft in many games at the most critical point on the field, and adding more depth to both sides of the ball on the line of scrimmage is vital to success. Climbing the ladder in the NFC West begins and ends with toughness, and the Rams are showing a clear focus on that attribute with their early selections in this year’s draft.