St. Louis Rams: Initial Grades for 2015 NFL Draft Class

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Round 4: Andrew Donnal, OL, Iowa


Donnal, a fringe combine invite who was a full-time collegiate starter for the first time in 2014, was a surprise selection in the fourth round. At 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds, he’s got the mauler size that the Rams covet, and he may have the versatility to play both guard and tackle at the NFL level. He can fairly be classified as a “project player”, considering that he lacks ideal college experience, and the general consensus seemed to be that his biggest weakness was a lack of play strength. These types of players are a growing risk in an NFL that no longer allows much developmental time with the shortening of offseason programs and training camps.

Since they selected their left tackle of the future, Greg Robinson, in last year’s first round, and found Havenstein, their projected long-term starter at right tackle, in this year’s second round, the Rams seem to be placing a backup ceiling on Donnal. That’s not to say accumulating depth is a bad thing in any way; the Rams’ sixth-round selection of cornerback E.J. Gaines last year turned out to be genius, as he outperformed second-rounder Lamarcus Joyner and passed him up on the depth chart. But while other teams were still selecting players with legitimate starting potential, such as the Patriots with guard Tre Jackson and the Bengals with defensive back Josh Shaw, it was a bit frustrating to see the Rams take Donnal, who projects as a depth player long-term.

Next: Round 6: Bud Sasser