St. Louis Rams: 2014 NFL Round 1 Rapid Reaction

Rams pick Aaron Donald in 1st

May, 8, 2014
5/08/14
9:52
PM ET

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.

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The pick: Greg Robinson, offensive tackle, Auburn

My take: This was something of an obvious pick for the Rams, who needed some major reinforcements for the offensive line. There is no bigger addition than the 6-foot-5, 332-pound Robinson. Known as a dominant run-blocker, Robinson will take some time to step in and help on the outside, but the Rams could easily put him on the Jonathan Ogden plan and play him at guard before he moves outside to tackle. Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is known as one of the best line coaches in the league, and though Robinson is a bit raw in pass protection, Boudreau is just the man to help him reach his potential. In the meantime, Robinson's reputation as a bully in the run game is the ideal fit for what the Rams want to be offensively. Jeff Fisher and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer want to run the ball first and foremost, and Robinson should allow them to do it against the dominant defenses in the NFC West division.

Fisher's first: Much has been made of Fisher's apparent avoidance of offensive linemen in the first round in his nearly two decades as a head coach. Fisher has made 17 first-round picks in his career without drafting an offensive lineman, by far the most in the modern NFL (since 1967). The next-highest is Steve Mariucci with 11. However, Fisher long maintained that he didn't have an aversion to drafting linemen in the first. His teams in Houston and Tennessee were loaded with top tackles such as Brad Hopkins for many years which mitigated the need for an offensive lineman early, especially a tackle. With Robinson on board, Fisher clearly hopes his newest addition can enjoy a similar career.

What's next: The Rams have another first-round pick at No. 13. This pick was the first the Rams have made under Fisher and general manager Les Snead in the first round without making a trade. Don't be surprised if they find a deal at No. 13.

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