(FootballStL) - The Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) named Rams' defensive tackle Aaron Donald their Defensive Rookie of the Year Tuesday, making him the first Ram to achieve the feat since linebacker Isiah Robertson did so for the Los Angeles Rams in 1971.
The award comes after Donald was named to the Pro Bowl and was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Focus, who rated him as the best defensive tackle in the entire league.
Donald became a dominant force for the Rams after being permanently inserted into the Rams starting lineup in week 6. He lead all rookies in sack, with nine, 2.5 more than Colts' linebacker Jonathan Newsome, and ranking only behind defensive end Robert Quinn for the team lead.
Subsequently, Donald was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, along with teammates Tre Mason and E.J. Gaines.
After being selected in the sixth round, Gaines started the first 15 games of the season at cornerback before missing the final game of the season with a concussion. He recorded two interceptions, 105 total tackles and a team high 14 pass breakups, while being arguably the Rams' most consistent defensive back.
Gaines also showed versatility in his rookie season, filling in both inside and outside and filling in for the injured Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner.
Running back Tre Mason finished his rookie campaign second among all rookies with 765 yards rushing, despite being inactive for the first four games of the season. Mason finished with four rushing touchdowns and another receiving.
Mason averaged 4.3 yards per carry and showed the promise that made him a third round pick, topping the 100-yard mark twice and improving in the passing game throughout the season.
Punter Johnny Hekker, who broke the record for net punting average a season ago, was named the All-NFC team punter after setting a new career high in punts downed inside the 20, with 33.
The Pro Football Writers of America are made up of accredited writers covering the NFL and all of its 32 teams on a daily basis.
Donald awaits announcement of the Associated Press' Defensive Rookie of the Year, which the NFL considers to be the official award and which he is believed to be the front-runner for.
That award will be announced the night before the Super Bowl during the NFL Honors presentation.