What to expect from Aaron Donald in 2015


When the St. Louis Rams drafted Aaron Donald last year they knew what kind of player they were getting and Donald didn’t disappoint. The fact that the Rams were on the clock with Donald on the board is still surprising. The reports on Donald were glowing coming out of Pittsburgh, and no one could have expected the production he put forth.

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According to Bleacher Report, Donald was the best defensive tackle in the NFL last year. That is some compliment for a rookie.

So where does Aaron Donald go from here? Can he improve on his massive rookie year? A lot of people think Donald is only going to get better, and here’s why.

Donald only has played one year in the NFL and that is a reason for teams to cringe. With another off season under way, the only thing stopping Donald from getting better is himself. The addition of Nick Fairley can only help Donald. He might not be on the field every down like he was majority of last season, but this well keep him fresh and he can be more productive when he’s in, especially on 3rd down.

Another reason for optimism is that this is Donald’s second-year under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. As much as Williams likes to blitz and create havoc with his defense, this can cause a lot more 1-on-1 blocking schemes for teams on Donald. This type of matchup favors Donald and may increase his TFL and sack numbers.

When Donald is at his best is when he is low and getting his hands on the offensive lineman and driving them into the backfield. He has such a strong lower body that allows him to overpower even the biggest offensive linemen.

Let’s not forget that when you have such a talented defensive line as the Rams, the opposing offense can’t just focus on one player on the line. If a team chooses to do that, their quarterback won’t be on his feet for much of the game. Having Robert Quinn, Chris Long, and Michael Brockers just makes Donald’s job that much easier and can set him up for much success.

It’s easy to see how Donald has become one of the premiere defensive lineman in the NFL. Watch out for Donald to be even better than he was in his rookie campaign, and if he is better, keep your eyes out for him to possibly be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Next: Trumaine Johnson must step up to replace injured E.J. Gaines

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