"My dad has a lot of respect for coach Fisher and he's definitely proud I get to play for him," McDonald said. "I kind of got a sense for myself about what kind of coach he was. Just from meeting him, it doesn't take very long and you can tell he's a great coach."
The last few seasons, Fisher has been monitoring McDonald's progress.
"T.J. is a big safety that moves well, that covers, that will run and hit," Fisher said. "That was a hold-your-breath pick because we were a little bit nervous."
McDonald's senior season was considered a bit of a drop-off from his junior year.
"I wouldn't say a bad year, I would say it was a different year," McDonald said. "I wasn't coming down from 15 yards deep flashing across the screen making those plays. I still went out there and made plays, that's the name of the game."
One of the starting safeties last season, Craig Dahl, signed a three-year free agent deal with San Francisco. The Rams had been considering re-signing the other safety Quintin Mikell, who was released to save salary cap space.
The only safety with starting experience on the roster is Darian Stewart, who played mostly on special teams last season.
Austin and Bailey had private workout not long before the draft with the Rams and both made visits to St. Louis at separate times. Fisher thought the Rams just beat several teams on the pick.
"We had them on the board based on their grades, not based on what school they attended," Fisher said. "It was a great opportunity for us. Both of them had outstanding workouts."
Together, Austin and Bailey totaled 488 receptions for 6,631 yards and 70 touchdowns. Bailey played primarily outside with Austin in motion, in the slot or in the backfield.
The Rams have four picks on the final day of the draft Saturday, one each in the fourth and fifth rounds with two in the sixth.