ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — On the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Rams continue to fill needs with very dynamic players as the selected free safety Timothy Jr. ‘TJ’ McDonald. This was first pick of the day for the Rams as they traded away their second round pick to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday to jump up in the first round.
McDonald, 22, is from Fresno, CA and stayed in his home state to play four years of collegiate football for the Southern California Trojans where he excelled as a two-time All Pac-12 player, an All Pac-10 safety plus a First Team All American honor in 2011.
At 6’2 and 219 lbs., McDonald does not have blazing speed as his 40-time was just 4.59 seconds, but the former All-American certainly can get up with a 40″ vertical jump. Along with average speed, McDonald’s agility was also considered to be a concern. His big hits and big plays creating turnovers at USC is what made him so good playing at USC.
As a high school All-American going to Southern Cal, McDonald had to wait only one season to become a starter where secondary talent has been deep for a long time. As a sophomore starter, McDonald developed natural leadership skills with his emotions and play on the field.
The Rams newest safety certainly has a football bloodline as he is the son of NFL Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald and brother of UCLA safety Tevin. Tim McDonald was actually drafted in the second round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987. He remained with the ‘Big Red’ when the made the move to Arizona and then finished his career with the San Francisco 49ers until retirement in 1999.
McDonald has another interesting connection as Rams head coach Jeff Fisher also was a safety at USC.