Former Rams Star Aaron Donald Names NFL’s Best Defender

Aaron Donald, Rams, NFL Rumors
NFL Analysis Network

Now former Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald ruled the NFL during his time in the league, making the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 professional seasons.

Donald announced his retirement last month, clearing the way for a new contender to take center stage as the league’s best defensive player.

Well, who better than Donald himself to pass the torch?

During a recent appearance on The Green Light podcast with Chris Long, Donald handed that title to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt.

“I think it’s T.J. Watt,” Donald said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “You talk about a guy that’s consistent. Been doing it year in, year out, consistently, that’s gonna get you 15 sacks, 13 sacks, 22 sacks, consistent. He’s the guy who’s been doing it consistently, interceptions, touchdowns, His stats are ridiculous every single year. He’s that guy to me. I know you’ve got Micah Parsons that’s coming up, you’ve got Myles Garrett, you’ve got a bunch of good players. But in my opinion, in the time I’ve seen T.J. Watt in this league, from the first time I’ve seen him to last year, he’s consistently been dominating in this league. So a lot of respect for him.”

Watt is coming off of a fantastic 2023 campaign in which he led the NFL with 19 sacks to go along with 68 tackles, an interception, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, eight passes defended and a defensive touchdown en route to his sixth straight Pro Bowl appearance and his fourth First-Team All-Pro selection. He also finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting.

The 29-year-old, who played his collegiate football at the University of Wisconsin, was selected by the Steelers with the 30th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Back in 2021, Watt tied Michael Strahan’s single-season record with 22.5 sacks and won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

He has finished in the top three in Defensive Player of the Year voting four times.

Meanwhile, Donald took home the honor on three separate occasions. In what ended up being his final season this past year, Aaron Donald tallied 53 tackles and eight sacks.

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