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Rams take OT Robinson with 2nd pick of draft

(AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

By R.B. FALLSTROM

AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) It was not a huge surprise to Greg Robinson when the St. Louis Rams made him the second overall pick of the NFL draft.

The team telephoned the Auburn offensive tackle earlier Thursday. Both parties said it was just to confirm they had the right number, standard practice according to coach Jeff Fisher.

"Kids like to change phone numbers these days," general manager Les Snead added.

Robinson took it as quite a hint.

"It was just so unbelievable, I couldn't believe it," Robinson said. "I didn't want to get any high expectations or get my hopes up and something go wrong. So, I just waited it out."

The 6-foot-5, 332-pound Robinson was a third team All-American at left tackle last year, starting every game for the national runner-ups. The Rams need immediate help at guard, but Robinson could start at left tackle to begin the season if Jake Long isn't ready to go after offseason knee surgery.

"You talk about an athlete," Fisher said. "He has a chance to be dominant player inside initially."

The Rams used their second pick of the first round to bolster the defensive front, taking Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald - undersized but highly productive - with the 13th overall selection. Donald boosted his stature in the Senior Bowl.

"We've got to get better, so we did today," Fisher said. "We definitely needed to address both sides of the ball up front."

The Redskins desperate for the Rams' second pick in 2012, giving up their first-rounder to move up four spots and handing over first-round picks in 2013 and '14. Snead said there wasn't much interest from teams looking to move up to No. 2 this year, mentioning Buffalo as the "most motivated" to make sure it landed wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Fisher said they were unsuccessful in a bid to trade up and get guard Zach Martin, who went to Dallas on the 16th pick.

Donald joins a bevy of former high picks and high dollar free agent pickups, with ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long and tackle Michael Brockers all former first-rounders. His first test might be bumping heads with Robinson.

"I'm real excited," Donald said. "Best defensive line in the NFL. I'm real pumped up about that."

Robinson said the Rams (7-9) hadn't discussed where they wanted to put him. He played some guard in high school in Thibodaux, La., and could be the replacement at left guard for Chris Williams, who took a free agent deal in Buffalo.

"Whatever they ask of me, I'm willing to just step in and try to help the best that I can," Robinson said.

Drafting Robinson is an upgrade up front for quarterback Sam Bradford, who's rehabbing from knee surgery. Earlier this week, Fisher swatted away trade rumors involving Bradford, the first overall pick in 2010 who has two years left on his contract.

"I look forward to hearing from him and blocking for him," Robinson said.

The pick was the final payout from the Robert Griffin III deal with the Redskins in 2012.

Robinson is the first offensive lineman ever taken by Fisher, entering his third season with the Rams and 20th overall as head coach.

Auburn led the nation in rushing last season with a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, and Robinson played a major role. Pass blocking is considered less of a strength.

The Rams ended up with a bust picking a tackle at No. 2 in the draft in 2009, with Jason Smith dogged by injuries. They got a star in 1997 when Orlando Pace was the first overall pick and became a seven-time Pro Bowler.

Offensive linemen were the top two overall picks last year, with Eric Fisher going to Kansas City and Luke Joeckel going to Jacksonville.

The Rams entered the draft with primary needs also at secondary and wide receiver. They've been quiet in free agency. The biggest move was re-signing guard Rodger Saffold, who failed a physical in Oakland, and the Rams also added wide receiver Kenny Britt and backup quarterback Shaun Hill.

Last year, St. Louis took two impact players in the first round, wide receiver Tavon Austin and outside linebacker Alec Ogletree.

The Rams had 12 selections overall, although half of them are in the last two rounds. They have one pick each in the second and third rounds Friday night.

Donald declined an invitation to New York for the draft, saying "I'm not a red carpet guy." The Rams didn't expect him to be available at No. 13.

The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Donald won the Nagurski and Bednarik awards as the nation's best defensive player, and the Outland and Lombardi as the country's best lineman.

"His game's not size," Snead said. "His game is speed, quickness."

Donald was the team captain last season and led the nation with 28 1/2 tackles for loss. He ran a 4.68-second, 40-yard dash at the combine.

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated May 8, 2014

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