Three Free Agent Defensive Tackles the Rams Must Target to Replace Aaron Donald

The Rams will likely be in the market for defensive tackle help after Aaron Donald announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Rams will likely be in the market for a new starting defensive tackle after future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday.

Donald leaves the game as one of the best defensive linemen to ever play and will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The 32-year-old defensive tackle had a stellar 2023 season as he was the elder statesman of the Rams’ defensive line.

The 10-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All-Pro had 53 combined tackles, 23 quarterback hits, 16 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. Donald was named to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro.

It will be hard for Los Angeles to replace Donald, who posted 111 sacks in his illustrious 10-year career. It will be even harder for them to win the NFC West (+450 on FanDuel Sportsbook) this upcoming season.

However, the Rams might have a future star in rookie nose tackle Kobie Turner, who had 57 combined tackles, 16 quarterback hits, nine sacks, and eight tackles for loss.

While Turner had an impressive rookie season, Los Angeles cannot lean on him to carry the defensive line next season. Below, we’ll discuss three free-agent defensive tackles Los Angeles should have on its radar.

1. Johnathan Hankins

Whoever the Rams sign in free agency, they will not replace the production of Donald, as it will take an entire team effort.

Hankins could be a solid replacement for the Rams as a run-stopper next season. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound defensive tackle hasn’t received any interest in free agency, but that could change as we move into the next wave of free agency.

Last season, the 31-year-old Haskins played 14 games with the Dallas Cowboys, posting 27 combined tackles, three quarterback hits, three sacks, and two tackles for loss. 

The veteran defensive tackle has been a consistent starter throughout his career, which could be appealing for a contender such as the Rams. Los Angeles did a solid job stopping the run last season, allowing 106.8 rushing yards per game (12th-fewest in the NFL). Without Donald on the defensive line, that number may increase. Therefore, Hankins would be a solid one-year option.