This is the final part in a series that spotlights three Rams-49ers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., at Levi’s Stadium.
Rams DT Aaron Donald vs. 49ers C Marcus Martin
Tale of the tape
Donald (99): 6 foot 1, 285 pounds, rookie, Pittsburgh
Martin (66): 6 foot 5, 312 pounds, rookie, USC
Donald, the 13th overall pick in the draft, has not wasted any time in making an impact on a solid Rams defense. In fact, Donald ranks as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the league behind Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system. He is tops in the league against the run.
The 49ers selected Martin in the third round with the idea that he could compete against Daniel Kilgore for the starting job. But Kilgore took the job in the offseason and played very well. Martin sustained a knee injury in the exhibition season and was inactive for the first seven games of the season. Kilgore sustained a season ending broken lower leg two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos, so Martin will make his NFL debut on Sunday. He’ll be matchup up against a fellow rookie.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Martin said of Donald. “Their front seven is great. I just got to be prepared to battle. It’s going to be a fight for a very long time. I just got to understand what’s being presented.”
[MAIOCCO: Rams-49ers Matchup No. 3: Davis vs. Reid]
Donald has outstanding quickness with the ability to penetrate and get into the backfield in the run game. He also has recorded two sacks. Martin is going to have to be spot-on with all of his assignments and play fast in order to neutralize the combination of agility and strength that Donald possesses.