Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Donald, Johnny Hekker selected to Pro Bowl

The Rams will have two representatives at the 2017 Pro Bowl in Donald and Hekker.

The NFL on Tuesday night announced this year's Pro Bowl selections that included a pair of Los Angeles Rams players in defensive tackle Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker

It marks the third straight Pro Bowl selection for Donald in as many seasons in the NFL, making him the first Rams player to earn three consecutive Pro Bowl trips since Torry Holt. He is also the first Rams player on defense to accomplish that feat since cornerback Jerry Gray made four straight bids from 1986-89.

Despite seeing a noticeable drop in his sack total to just 7.0 through the first 14 games this season, he leads the NFL in quarterback hits (29) and is tied for the lead in tackles for loss (16). He also leads the NFL in combined quarterback hurries and knockdowns with 56 in 46 career games. Since entering the league in 2014, Donald has recorded the most sacks by a defensive tackle (27.0). 

“It’s definitely a big accomplishment,” Donald said, according to the LA Times. “Anytime you get rewarded for all the work you put into this game, you’re going to be happy about it. So definitely a big deal.”

This marks Hekker's third selection to the Pro Bowl in his in first four seasons. He is one of three Rams punters to earn a Pro Bowl nod alongside Dale Hatcher (1985) and Dave Chapple (1972). He is in the midst of an impressive campaign leading the league averaging 46.2 net yards per punt while tying the all-time mark for most punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line (46) that is held by Arizona Cardinals punter Dave Zastudil

This is a feat that Zastudil needed 112 punts with recording eight touchbacks, whereas Hekker reached that mark on just 79 punts with just one touchback. In Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers, he recorded a career-long 75-yard punt prior to topping it a week later with a 78-yarder, making him the first punter in 20 years to notch 75-plus yard punts in back-to-back weeks.

"It’s not something that the players take lightly, take for granted, it’s something that’s really special," Interim head coach John Fassel said. "It’s something that’s really important to the players and it’s really cool, as a coach, to see a player get recognized and feel like, ‘Gosh, I can’t believe I’m a Pro Bowler in the NFL.’ It’s a good feeling.”

The 2017 Pro Bowl is set to take place on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 for the first time at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. 


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