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Aaron Donald: Elite Pass-Rushing Defensive Tackle...One of the Best Run-Stuffers In The Game

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Rookie DT Aaron Donald was living in opposing teams backfields in 2014. He may be one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the game...but don’t sleep on his run-stuffing game.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


"I've learned over the years that you never have enough pass rushers." -  Jeff Fisher

Fisher & Co., who’d already assembled a relatively solid crew of defensive players - certainly pass rushers - did themselves and the organization a favor when they selected Aaron Donald [DT] out of Pittsburgh with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Defensive tackle probably wasn’t one of the team’s most dire needs leading up to draft day.  But Donald's draft status never came into question, as he excelled in his rookie year.  He recorded 47 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles last year on the way to his first Pro Bowl.  He also earned the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

And while Donald is often known for preying on QB’s in the opposition’s backfield, his ability to thwart the run game is often understated.  But it hasn’t gone unnoticed by NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, who listed the league’s Five Best Run Stuffers on Wednesday afternoon.

Miami Dolphins’ newest addition, Ndamukong Suh, tops the list.  Buffalo Bills’ defensive tackle Marcell Dareus dropped in at No. 2.  At three?

3) Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams

The 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year commanded a lot of attention due to his pass-rushing prowess, but it's his disruptive presence against the run that earns him high marks in coaching circles. Donald destroyed opponents at the point of attack in Year 1, exhibiting exceptional first-step quickness and acceleration. He routinely slipped through cracks on pre-planned angle rushes, but also flashed the strength and power to hold the point against single- or double-teams. With Donald also displaying outstanding hand quickness and combat skills, the young defender has already emerged as a foundational piece for the Rams.


Now, watch him work...

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