The Los Angeles Rams entered the 2024 NFL Draft much differently than they had since Sean McVay joined the team back in 2017. For one, it was the first time that McVay had the opportunity to make a first-round pick, as in years past those were sent to other teams for traded players. It was also the first draft where McVay and the Rams had to find a replacement for All-Pro Aaron Donald.

The now former Rams defensive tackle decided to retire after a 10-year career in the NFL. Donald had been with the Rams going all the way back to their final years in St. Louis and eventually found himself to be a Super Bowl champion years later after the team moved to Los Angeles.

McVay and the team can't rely on Donald's strength and leadership for the 2024 season, nor his 111 sacks he totaled throughout his career. That left the Rams head coach with a daunting task ahead of him during the draft, to which there never was going to be any easy answers for.

Out of the 10 draft picks the Rams made in the 2024 NFL Draft, four of those were more or less related to Donald's replacement, with hopes of recreating some of his pass-rushing abilities. They started in the first round with edge rusher Jared Verse at No. 19 overall, then the very next round drafted defensive tackle Braden Fiske. They then went back-to-back rounds again in the fifth and sixth to select edge rusher Brennan Jackson and defensive tackle Tyler Davis.

Defensive tackle Tyler Davis could be a rookie sleeper for the Rams in the 2024 season

May 21, 2024, Thousand Oaks, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Tyler Davis (90) during organized team activities at Cal Lutheran University.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If it wasn't obvious by now, the Rams are overhauling the rebuild of their defensive front. They not only have to replace Aaron Donald but also defensive end Jonah Williams, who left in free agency for the Minnesota Vikings. That definitely makes room for someone like former Clemson defensive tackle Tyler Davis.

Davis was a unanimous four-star recruit coming out of high school and highly sought after. But it was Dabo Swinney and Clemson that eventually landed him. As a freshman, he started in 13 games and made 52 overall starts in his career, which is a Clemson team record by a defensive player, according to Turf Show Times.

For his five seasons at Clemson, he recorded 145 total tackles, 30 for a loss, 16 sacks, while adding three pass deflections. He was named as part of Bruce Feldman's Freaks List, ranking at 55 due to his impressive strength. Feldman wrote that Davis “bench-pressed 405 pounds, doing 30 reps of 225. He’s squatted 680, front-squatted 465, power-cleaned 350, and deadlifted 655. He also was timed this offseason at 4.95 in the 40.”

He's not going to be any sort of immediate replacement for Donald — then again, who will? — nor will he be the best of pass rushers. Where he'll find his strengths and value will be in the run game and becoming a space-eater, which might not always show up on stat sheets. His last season with the Tigers, Pro-Football-Focus graded him with a 90.8 for his run defense.

Davis has just as good of a shot as any of the four Rams defensive front picks to make an impact during the 2024 season. This group for the Rams is a very young and inexperienced group. They have only a handful of guys with more than one year of playing time under their belt. While Davis adds to the youthfulness, his 50-plus collegiate starts playing at a Power Five program puts him in position to potentially learn quickly and get playing time early.