Aaron Donald is only 29 years old and has been in the NFL for 7 years though it seems as though he’s been around forever.
His entire career has been spent with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams.
He is already regarded as one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time, and his career is likely far from over.
When he does retire, Aaron Donald will most definitely be a NFL Hall of Famer.
Here are 3 reasons why.
1. A Force To Be Reckoned With
There was no learning curve for Donald.
He came in as a rookie and hit the ground running, literally.
At the 2014 NFL Combine, Donald broke the record for the 40 yard dash by a defensive tackle.
He ran it in 4.68 seconds; the previous record was 4.69 seconds run by Tank Johnson at the 2004 NFL Combine.
The Rams drafted him in the first round with the 14th pick overall, and he has been dominant from the get-go.
He has been giving opposing teams’ head coaches headaches for years.
Former Jets Coach Adam Gase described Donald as follows:
“I think what makes Aaron Donald Aaron Donald is that consistency of if you do not double team him, he is getting to the ball carrier or getting to the quarterback. Like he changes the game so much, it’s hard to explain, you have to watch it. When you watch this guy get double-teamed almost every snap, and the five snaps he gets singled up, he wins…He gets double-teamed a lot, it doesn’t matter though. I mean the guy is phenomenal at defeating blocks whether one or two guys are on him, whether he’s backside, frontside of the run. If he’s not the best player in the league, he’s top three. He’s so disruptive.”
#Bills coach Sean McDermott calls Aaron Donald one of, if not, the best players in the NFL. Says the Bills have their hands full. Asked how he's been so successful, McDermott mentions his wrestling background, which serves so many players well in the NFL.
— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) September 23, 2020
2. Decorated, Award-Winning Career
Donald has been named to the Pro Bowl all seven seasons he has been in the NFL.
Excluding his rookie season, he has been named First Team All-Pro in six seasons.
He was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014.
Donald won back-to-back Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2017 and 2018.
Just this week, he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2020 season by the Pro Football Writers of America, an award he also received in 2018.
No one better.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 20, 2021
He was the NFL sacks leader in 2018.
Donald was named to both the NFL and Sporting News 2010s All Decade Teams.
In the 106 games he’s played, he has 247 solo tackles, 201 quarterback hits, 19 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 safety.
Donald and the Rams have made playoff runs in 2017, 2018, and 2020; they advanced to the Super Bowl in the 2018 season but lost to the Patriots by a score of 13-3.
Aaron Donald gives it all he has each game, and he was visibly emotional in the waning seconds of the Rams 2020 playoff run.
The best to play the game, and it means the world to him. Tough to see Aaron Donald upset. pic.twitter.com/vZGPbFAnJO
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) January 17, 2021
3. Accomplished All Of This Before Turning 30
It is really hard to believe Aaron Donald has done so much in the NFL, and he is not even 30 years old.
He has been blessed with relatively healthy seasons and no significant injuries despite being a very physical player.
Hopefully, Donald gets a Super Bowl ring because that will culminate a nearly perfect career.
Regardless, he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he retires.