Donald Goes 13th To The Rams

Prior to the start of his Draft Party on Thursday night, Aaron Donald mentioned the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears as teams who checked in with him on Thursday. The St. Louis Rams, at 13, snuck up and made him their second first-round pick ahead of the Bears.

Aaron Donald was taken with the 13th overall pick of the first round in Thursday night's NFL Draft, heading to the St. Louis Rams.

Donald becomes the first defensive lineman, interestingly, since 1992 when Sean Gilbert was taken third overall by the then Los Angeles Rams.

Also getting selected at 13, it's the highest a Pitt Panther had been taken since Larry Fitzgerald was taken third overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2004.

For Donald, it's a new chapter in his life. After a senior season that saw 28.5 tackles for losses and 11 sacks. After a season that led to a sweep of college football awards, including ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Chuck Bednarik Award Winner, Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award. Donald is off to the NFL, a goal he says he had since he was five years-old.

An emotional Donald spoke, just moments after talking with Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.

"I knew everything was going to fall into place," Donald said. "I'm excited that I'm chosen. I've got the opportunity to play for a great team with great coaches."

Earlier in the first round, the Rams selected Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson with the second overall pick. The Rams clearly addressed both sides of the line with these two picks.

Donald joins a defensive line that already has Chris Long, who was taken with the second overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Long finished with eight sacks in 2013. Third-year pro Robert Quinn finished with 19 sacks last year, making it a good situation for Donald to fit right in.

As disruptive a player that Donald was in college, any disruption he can bring to the Rams defensive line might detract pressure off Long or Quinn. Or, with attention given to these ends, Donald has a chance to create an impact inside.

"I know they've got one of the best defenses in the league," Donald said. "I know they've got two pass rushers. I know they're looking for another guy inside, and maybe I can be that guy."

Any last words for Pitt fans, as he embarks on his NFL dream?

"Hard work pays off," Donald said. "Hail to Pitt, always."

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