Although his snaps have been limited as part of a rotation, Donald quietly has been the disruptive force the Rams hoped they were getting when they drafted him No. 13 overall in May's draft. According to the coaches' review of the film, Donald has 12 tackles, including four for loss, in the first two games.
While Donald has the ability to move around the line and might not see a lot of Martin, it's likely their paths will cross at some point in Sunday's game. For those that don't remember, if Donald had been off the board when the Rams picked at No. 13, Martin likely would have been the choice. In fact, Rams coach Jeff Fisher openly acknowledged the team's efforts to trade back into the first round to land Martin.
In his first two weeks, Martin has had some ups and downs. For what it's worth, Pro Football Focus' evaluations show Martin has done well in pass protection but struggled as a run blocker.
At the Senior Bowl in January, Martin was the only lineman in Mobile who was able to stand up to Donald in pass-rush drills. If they get a chance to do it again, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in a battle of two of the most technically polished players in this year's draft.
It's only been two games, but it's hard to deny that Quick has looked like the player the Rams hoped he'd be entering his third season in the league. He leads the team with 14 catches for 173 yards and, aside from a drop on a deep ball against Tampa Bay last Sunday, has been the picture of consistency in the first two games. Quick has a chance to surpass his numbers from 2013 in just three games with just a decent day against the Cowboys.
On the other side, Quick figures to get his fill of both Claiborne and fellow starter Brandon Carr, neither of whom has impressed much in the first two weeks. Interestingly enough, Dallas made a draft-day deal with the Rams for in 2012 to secure Claiborne. The Rams ended up with defensive tackle Michael Brockers in that trade.
Neither Claiborne nor Quick has lived up to their draft position to this point, but the arrow is certainly pointing up on Quick right now while Claiborne has struggled. Another big day for Quick would be a welcomed development for a Rams offense that got nothing going against Dallas last year.
Rams offensive line vs. Cowboys defensive line
So we're going to cheat a little bit here and not just focus on one matchup on the line. Hey, at least we're not going with Robert Quinn vs. Tyron Smith, though that will be a fun matchup to watch. The reason for going line vs. line here is because it's hard to erase from memory the thrashing the Cowboys gave the Rams up front in last year's meeting.
But things should be different this time. DeMarcus Ware has moved on to Denver and Jason Hatcher is now creating havoc for the Washington Redskins. Those two were primarily responsible for the wreckage done to the Rams last year, especially Ware against left tackle Jake Long.
Although Dallas doesn't have the same big names, it has gotten pretty solid production from a group led by defensive tackle Henry Melton. Left guard Rodger Saffold will have his hands full with Melton and ends Tyrone Crawford and Jeremy Mincey have consistently created pressure in the first two games.