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The Daily Dose: Donald Makes Case for DPOY, Rams Ranked Among Top Safeties

Posted Feb 1, 2018

All the latest news surrounding your Los Angeles Rams for Thursday, February 1st.

This offseason, theRams.com will be taking a look around the internet for the top Rams headlines of the day. Here’s a look at what’s out there for Thursday, Feb. 1st about your Los Angeles Rams:

Donald Deserving of Defensive Player of the Year Award

In the wake of Super Bowl LII this weekend, ESPN.com writer Alden Gonzalez is taking a look at several Rams candidates who could be up for yearly awards handed out by the Associated Press. The awards will be unveiled during the NFL Honors show this Saturday on NBC.

On Monday and Tuesday, Gonzalez detailed why wide receiver Cooper Kupp and quarterback Jared Goff should be up for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year Awards. But today, he’s taking a look at the other side of the ball — describing why defensive tackle Aaron Donald is deserving of this year’s Defensive Player of the Year designation. 

Numbers:

“Donald held out all summer, didn't return in time for the opener and sat out the regular-season finale. He still put up 11 sacks, tying a career high and tying for 11th-most in the NFL. He added five forced fumbles (tied for second), 27 quarterback hits (tied for fourth) and 15 tackles for loss (tied for ninth). [Plus,] Donald created 91 total pressures, more than any other defensive player.”

Why he should win:

“Donald's pressure numbers would be elite for an edge rusher. They seem unrealistic for an interior defender who faces constant double and triple teams. Consider: Pro Football Focus gave Donald a near-perfect pass-rush grade of 99.7 this past season. The next interior defender was the Eagles' Fletcher Cox at 90.3. His 91 total pressures were 21 more than the runner up at his position, the Cincinnati Bengals' Geno Atkins. In short, nobody dominates his position like Donald.” 

Johnson, Joyner Ranked Among Top Safeties in the League

With the start of the offseason come many articles recapping the NFL season that was. Over at Bleacher Report, that means taking a look at every player and position in the league and ranking them based on their performances last year.

This week, the NFL 1000 scouts published their rankings for the safety positions — both strong safety and free safety — and two Rams were named within the top 10. Strong safety Lamarcus Joyner was listed at No. 5, while free safety John Johnson III came in at No. 10 overall. The criteria was based on coverage, recovery, slot performance, tackling, and position value.

Here’s what the scouts had to say about each:

No. 5 Lamarcus Joyner

“Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips transformed Lamarcus Joyner into a true playmaker. Instead of pigeonholing Joyner into a slot corner, Phillips moved him all around the defense—and it paid off. Joyner was one of the NFL's best cover safeties. He matched up with top receivers and didn't back down. His athleticism and tenacity will make him coveted now that he's a free agent.”

- NFL1000 defensive backs scout Kyle Posey

No. 10 John Johnson 

“Quietly, John Johnson was sensational as a rookie, and his play was great when Lamarcus Joyner formed the team's safety tandem with him. Johnson showed the route recognition and cover skills of a veteran. He was also a sure tackler. His main drawback was his recovery speed, but he'll continue to hone his skills and give the Rams a bright future.”

- NFL1000 DB Scout, Kyle Posey

Last Day to Vote for FedEx Ground Player of the Year

Today is the last day to vote for Rams running back Todd Gurley as the FedEx Ground Player of the year. Cast your vote by retweeting the tweet below.