EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The pick: Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh
My take: On the surface this looks like an obvious best-player-available choice, but the Rams clearly viewed defensive tackle as more of a need than others after spending much of the pre-draft process scouting the position. Donald is the best defensive tackle in the draft and a pure three-technique with premium pass-rush skills. When I mocked Donald to the Rams in our NFL Nation mock draft earlier this week, I made the pick believing it was not only a great value, but a great fit. Donald gives the Rams the type of defensive tackle they don't have. They have big run-stuffers in Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford. What they don't have is someone who can push the pocket on a consistent basis. Donald provides that after posting 11 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss in 2013.
Win the line: There's no denying the obvious overtones of the Rams' first two picks. The Seattle Seahawks proved that you have to win the line of scrimmage to win in the West, and San Francisco and Arizona dominated the Rams in that regard in the Rams' divisional road trips last year. Adding Donald to the defensive line and Robinson to the offensive line should boost the Rams' chances of keeping up with the powerful fronts the other three teams possess. Expect Donald to step in as part of the rotation right away, especially on passing downs.
What's next: The Rams' decision-makers might be developing a bit of a nervous tick after not making a trade in the first round, but they still have 10 more picks to make over the next two days. Expect secondary and receiver to get some much-needed attention as we head into Friday.