On Tuesday night, the NFL announced which players from all 32 teams will be attending the 2016 Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. And three of those players for the National League Conference team were announced to be from the St. Louis Rams.
They are as follows: RB Todd Gurley, DT Aaron Donald, and P Johnny Hekker.
For what has been yet another disappointing season for the St. Louis Rams, the three players mentioned above have been, without a doubt, the brightest spots and have shown that there are key pieces in place for the franchise in the coming years.
Naturally, this is the first Pro Bowl selection for rookie running back Gurley. The Georgia product has rushed for 1,023 rushing yards in 12 games (he missed the first two games due to recovering from an ACL injury), with a 4.9 YPC average. He has also scored nine touchdowns on the ground, being the top offensive weapon, with Tavon Austin arguably being the second.
He has also had some production in the struggling passing game, hauling in 20 passes for 181 yards.
As for Donald (who is making his second trip to the Pro Bowl), he has not only performed at a Pro Bowl level, but has been in talks for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Currently, he’s ranked first in sacks by a defensive tackle with 11, and is second among all defensive lineman in tackles. With injuries holding back outside defensive lineman Chris Long and Robert Quinn all year, it’s been the interior lineman (Donald along with Michael Brockers) that have made the biggest impact.
Lastly, there is Hekker, who many consider to be the best punter in the NFL. As with Donald, this is his second selection to the Pro Bowl as well. This season, due to the lack of offensive production, Hekker leads the NFL in most punts. But, despite that glaring fact, he has still maintained the best gross punting average and also the second-best net punting average within the league.
All three of these players are cornerstones of the Rams, and it’s clear that it will remain that way for years to come.