Rams' Donald, Hekker earn first-team All-Pro honors
The St. Louis Rams had another disappointing season in 2015, failing to make the playoffs for the 11th straight season, but that didn't mean some players didn't have great seasons. Two in particular had outstanding campaigns: defensive tackle Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker.
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Donald and Hekker were named first-team All-Pro on Friday by The Associated Press.
Donald recorded 11.0 sacks in 2015, which tied him for the NFL lead among interior linemen. He also posted 22 tackles for loss (according to Rams coaches' review) as well as 49 quarterback pressures and 29 quarterback hits.
Donald is just the third Rams defensive tackle to reach double digits in sacks since the NFL began recognizing the statistic in 1982. He finished the year one sack shy of surpassing D'Marco Farr for the most in franchise history by an interior lineman. A second-year pro, Donald is headed to his second Pro Bowl but earned All-Pro honors for the first time in his career.
Hekker's recognition comes after turning in one of the best single-season punting performances in NFL history. He led the league in punts (96), gross punting average (47.9), net punting average (43.7) and punts downed inside the opponents' 20 yard-line (41). Since the NFL began tracking punts downed inside the opponents' 20, Hekker is the only punter to lead the league in that category as well as gross and net average in the same season.
Hekker also earned the honor following a 2013 season in which he set the NFL single-season record for net punting average (44.2). Hekker was also a second-team All-Pro selection in 2014.