Rams Had ‘Pretty Enticing’ Aaron Donald Trade Offer in 2014, Ex-Scout Says

Aaron Donald

Getty Aaron Donald on November 13, 2022 in Inglewood.

Was there any thought involving the Los Angeles Rams of them trading out of the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft? Turns out it nearly happened — which would’ve put the Rams at risk of not taking a future face of the franchise that night.

For fans who love looking back at past drafts, the 13th overall pick became franchise cornerstone Aaron Donald. But as former Rams scout turned Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes shared with the NFL Network’s Peter Schrager on “The Season” released on Wednesday, July 12, there were teams who wanted where the Rams stood that night…which points to the Rams losing out on Donald had they accepted the move.

“The sights were set on Aaron Donald,” the former Rams scout Holmes said of the Rams’ target at that spot. “And I’ll never forget we got to that pick and a team called and they offered a pretty enticing trade offer. And I remember Jeff (Fisher) and Les (Snead) were like, ‘Absolutely not. We’re picking this guy and that’s just it.’”


What if the Rams Completed the Trade, Who Would’ve Been Targeted if Not Donald?

It was never revealed by Holmes which team pursued the 13th overall pick, or if that team wanted to go all in on swooping up Donald.

Holmes at the time was the director of college scouting for the Rams. He wasn’t involved with accepting the offer as that was more for Ex-Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and the GM Snead. Holmes, though, is credited by many for helping discover a young Donald out of the University of Pittsburgh.

But what if the Rams never got “A.D?” Who would’ve been next up?

The 2014 class was one of the more defensive back heavy ones in the first round. Justin Gilbert was one name who went before Donald (eighth overall). Kyler Fuller went after Donald. Jason Verrett and Jimmie Ward were also in the first round group at 25th and 30th overall, respectively. The Rams, meanwhile, settled on a young cornerback named Lamarcus Joyner as their next pick in the second round at 41st overall.

Perhaps the Rams would’ve taken the Florida State standout Joyner a lot earlier had they accepted the trade for the 13th spot, which likely would’ve moved them down in the draft. Or, perhaps the Rams would’ve taken the second interior defensive lineman to be taken in day one of the draft, Dominque Easley of Florida who ended up at 29th overall to the New England Patriots.

But the Rams stood pat and delivered one of their more revered draft moves in franchise history — as Donald established himself as a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner and Super Bowl 56 champion. But a draft meeting before night one, Holmes revealed, sealed it for the franchise.


Ex-Assistant GM Helped Seal Donald to Rams

Holmes believes that a former assistant general manager he worked with was who convinced the Rams to ignore Donald’s size flaws as an undersized interior lineman.

“And I’ll never forget in that draft meeting, our assistant general manager, Ray Agnew, he was the one that really like – in that draft meeting leading up to that draft, because a lot of people were saying because of his size, he was going to be sub-rush, specialized package nickel-sub-rush guy,” Holmes recalled.

Holmes, however, remembered a really adamant Agnew regarding drafting Donald.

“And I’ll never forget, Ray Agnew was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no. He’s every-down. It’s no specialized nothing. And he said it with the most passion,” Holmes said.

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