Among the eleven players with at least 200 pass rushing snaps this season, Aaron Donald ranks first in pressure rate at 12.7%. That may seem like a short list but what’s wrong with rewarding Donald for being both available and effective? This is also a list that includes Myles Garrett (11%) and JJ Watt (9.4%) and further emphasizes why Donald exists in a group of active defensive linemen that can only ever include one name:
Donald’s nine sacks are the most he’s had in the first eight games of a season since he had 10 in 2018. Donald finished that season with a career-high 20.5. He has 15 QB hits after recording 24 QB hits in 2019. Only four players have more QB hits than Donald, including Shaq Lawson, who has a league-leading 21 in his first year with the Dolphins. But Lawson only has one sack and nobody with more than 15 QB hits has more than 3.5 sacks.
Donald’s MVP argument took a hit when the Rams took their third loss on Sunday but he could have the strongest case in the league to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award.
The Rams have five games remaining within the NFC West and Donald averages one sack per game against division opponents. He needs only three more sacks to have the second-highest single season total of his career.
LA signed nose tackle A’Shawn Robinson in the offseason in the hopes that he’d open even more opportunities for Donald. The Rams hope to get Robinson on the field for the first time in Week 10 against the Seahawks.
Are even better games ahead for Donald?