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Eight Rams selected to Pro Football Focus Top 101, including Aaron Donald at No. 1

Eight Rams were selected to Pro Football Focus Top 101, including Aaron Donald at No. 1

The offseason is officially underway and Pro Football Focus has its list of the top 101 players from the 2018 season.

The ranking is created considering each player’s individual performance relative to what their position requires, both in the regular season and postseason. The PFF team of analysts included eight Rams on its annual ranking, which is the most selected from any team. The Chiefs, Patriots, Saints, and Bears each trail the Rams with seven top-101 selections.

Here’s a look at each member of the NFC Champion Rams that made the list:

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Defensive tackle Aaron Donald makes his fifth appearance on the PFF Top 101 list and also claims the top spot in 2018. Donald took home his second-straight AP Defensive Player of the Year award in his team’s run to Super Bowl LIII after leading the league in sacks (20.5), quarterback hits (41), and tackles for loss (25).

1. AARON DONALD

Top 101 appearances: 5

“In the 2018 NFL season there really is no question who the best player in the game was, and what is remarkable is that he took his game to another level from an already ridiculous starting point. Aaron Donald was the single most destructive force in the game from his interior alignment on the Rams defensive line, earning an overall PFF grade of 95.2 and recording a staggering 113 quarterback pressures, both the best marks of any player in the league.”

Veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth is the next member of the Rams on the list, rounding out the top 30 players in 2018. Whitworth started in all 16 games as well as each of the club’s three postseason contests in his 13th season, including his first and second-career postseason wins.

29. ANDREW WHITWORTH

Top 101 appearances: 7

“Simply put, there hasn’t been a more consistent performer at the left tackle position than Whitworth, and at age 37, Whitworth continued his premier play this season. His overall grade of 82.7 was good for fifth among all offensive tackles in the NFL through the regular season, and as always, the All-Pro was as solid as they come in pass protection where he allowed 33 total pressures from 601 pass-blocking snaps.”

PFF’s analysis team credited wide receiver Robert Woods’ hands in his first top-101 appearance following his second year as a member of head coach Sean McVay’s offense in L.A.

Woods edged out fellow receiver Brandin Cooks to lead the team with 1,219 yards receiving in the regular season and put up 14-straight games with at least 60 yards yards receiving between Weeks 2 and 15.

49. ROBERT WOODS

Top 101 appearances: New entry

“Robert Woods had a career-year in 2018 as the Rams’ best pass-catcher. He finished with an overall grade of 88.0, ranking eighth among wide receivers. Woods dropped only two balls on 88 catchable targets, tying for the 14th-best drop rate (2.3%) out of 108 players at the position.”

Fourth-year right tackle Rob Havenstein joins Woods as a first-timer on PFF’s list. Havenstein, a fellow member of the Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year, joins Whitworth as the only other member of the Rams’ offensive line in the ranking.

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54. ROB HAVENSTEIN

Top 101 appearances: New entry

“Havenstein couldn’t drag his team over the finish line this year, but that shouldn’t take away from a great 2018 campaign. He’s as consistent and technically sound as any tackle in the league, and the former second-rounder allowed only four combined sacks and hits all season.”

PFF also includes quarterback Jared Goff and his solid passer rating on the end-of-season list, following the young quarterback’s career-high season for both touchdowns (32) and yards passing (4,688) in 2018.

69. JARED GOFF

Top 101 appearances: New entry

“He ultimately came up short in the biggest game of his career, but his season-long (for the most part) performance should be more than enough to give Rams fans hope for the future. Goff finished the 2018 regular season ranked fourth among quarterbacks with a passer rating of 117.1 from a clean pocket, while his 23 big-time throws (our-highest graded throws) from a clean pocket were the sixth-most among players at the position.”

Sophomore safety John Johnson is the second Rams defensive player on the list, earning his spot after boasting a team-high four regular-season interceptions, plus an overtime pick in the NFC title game in New Orleans.

Johnson’s high coverage grade shouldn’t overshadow the young defensive back’s tackling ability. The Boston College product posted 119 tackles in 2018, which is second to only linebacker Cory Littleton in L.A.

71. JOHN JOHNSON III

Top 101 appearances: New entry

“In his second season, Johnson III has evolved into a dynamic cover safety for the Rams. His 86.4 coverage grade for the season ranked fifth among safeties who faced 20-plus targets. Overall, Johnson III allowed only 37 receptions for 328 yards and logged 12 combined pass breakups and interceptions while in coverage.”

Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman joins Johnson as the only other Rams defensive back to make the top-101 list.

Like Johnson, Robey-Coleman’s success in coverage drew attention from the PFF team of analysts. He finished his sixth NFL season with four passes defensed and one interception.

87. NICKELL ROBEY-COLEMAN

Top 101 appearances: New entry

“Robey-Coleman’s 2018 season was once again good enough to put him among the very best slot cornerbacks in the league. His 80.7 coverage grade on the year was good for sixth among qualifying players at the position, and the 81.1 passer rating allowed in slot coverage was good for eighth.”

Rounding out the Rams selected to the PFF top 101 players of 2018 is first-year Rams defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Suh earned praise for his ability to stop the run in his ninth NFL season and was particularly productive in the postseason. The former Nebraska Cornhusker recorded four tackles, a tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits along with 1.5 sacks in the Divisional round and Conference championship game. He finished with two tackles and a quarterback hit on Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.

95. NDAMUKONG SUH

Top 101 appearances: 8

“After yet another dominant season and Super Bowl run with the Rams, Suh finished the year with an 83.0 overall grade, third-highest of his career. The free-agent-to-be excelled in run defense with an 88.7 grade against the run, 12th-best among interior defenders, and proved to still be a capable pass rusher with 55 total pressures.”

For the full Pro Football Focus Top 101, click here.

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