Aaron Donald continues to give the Los Angeles Rams reasons to be thrilled after the star defender finished on top of the PFF50 heading into the 2019 season.
No one needs to explain to the Los Angeles Rams just how fortunate the team is to have Aaron Donald leading the way on the defensive side of the football since the Pittsburgh product has quickly become a top defender in the league.
After holding out of training camp and preseason in each of the last two seasons, Donald’s presence in offseason workouts this offseason has already made a huge difference for the Rams, as the team seems more motivated than ever.
Coming up short the way they did in Super Bowl 53 to the New England Patriots has left Los Angeles with plenty to think about this offseason, and even Donald recently expressed how much he keeps thinking about earning another chance for a ring.
Watching Donald finish last season with a career high 20.5 sacks despite missing out on training camp and preseason just adds to the long list of reasons behind why many view him as the best defender in the NFL.
In fact, the folks at Pro Football Focus recently conducted their list of the PFF50 that look at the top 50 players heading into the 2019 season, and to no one’s surprise, Donald is sitting in the No. 1 spot.
Here’s what PFF had to say about the Rams superstar earning the top spot on the list:
"Donald has single-handedly rewritten the PFF record books. He’s led his position in overall grade and pass-rush grade in every year after his rookie campaign in 2014. And he still ranked second in overall grade and third pass-rush grade as a first-year player five years ago. Four of the five best single-season pass-rush win rates in the PFF era (2006-18) belong to Donald.From PFF’s Austin Gayle:“We ran out of superlatives for Donald after last season, and now we’re running out of records. He’s now won PFF’s Defensive Player of the Year in three of the last four years – soon enough we’ll run out of awards, too.”"
Before Los Angeles became legitimate contenders in the NFC under Sean McVay, Donald was one of the few positive highlights surrounding this Rams team, and he’s certainly played a major role in helping them reach new levels over the previous two seasons.
Putting together a better season than 2018 from a statistical standpoint may seem impossible for Donald, but also if he were to find a way this upcoming season, no one would be shocked one bit.
There’s a reason why PFF was willing to reward Donald with the top honors on their impressive list, and if all goes according to plan in 2019, the Rams should have little trouble earning a trip to the playoffs for a third year in a row.
This always seems easier said than done now that Los Angeles will be entering the new season with targets on their backs as defending NFC champions, but also at least Donald’s presence will always give them an extra advantage on defense, no matter what.