Rams Draft Grade: LA Finds Aaron Donald Replacement with No. 19 Pick

The Los Angeles Rams address their needs on the defensive side of the ball with the 19th overall pick.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams had a first-round pick heading into the NFL Draft for the first time since 2016. And they made it count by finding a replacement for one of the greatest defensive players of all-time.

Aaron Donald sent shockwaves to the NFL world earlier in the offseason by announcing his retirement. Rams fans were desperately thinking of how their team was going to replace one of the most dominant defenders in the league. It's unfair to put that kind of pressure and expectation on any rookie but the Rams tried to address their need as early as they could in the draft.

With their 19th overall pick in the draft, the Rams selected Jared Verse out of Florida State.

NFL Draft: Rams Select FSU Defender Jared Verse

Verse started his collegiate career in Albany before transferring to Florida State before the 2022 season. That's where he started thriving when he finished back-to-back seasons with nine sacks. On PFF, he finished last season with a 90.8 pass-rushing grade and ranked as the third-best edge defender prospect in the draft, with an impressive 21.8% pass-rush win rate.

Not only is Verse one of the most talented defensive ends in the draft but he also fills an immediate need for the Rams. He will slot in perfectly to the defensive front line opposite of Byron Young, and alongside the talented group that includes Kobie Turner, Bobby Brown, and Ernest Jones.

He's not a one-to-one replacement for Donald, of course, playing on the edge instead of the interior. But if Verse can live up to his potential that would go a log way to helping ease the blow of losing a Hall-of-Fame producer on the defensive front.

verse. A. EDGE. Florida State. Jared Verse

The Rams have a second-rounder and two third-round picks on Friday night. They will look to further improve their roster to make their way back to contention.

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