Aaron Donald has been named to the NFL First-Team All-Pro defense for the seventh year in a row, making his (excellent) rookie campaign the only time his career that Donald wasn’t listed with the First-Team. Donald was named to the PFF First-Team defense as a rookie in 2014 and they have also listed him as the NFL’s best defensive player in each of the last six years.
It’s not only remarkable to consider what Aaron Donald has accomplished in his career in a vacuum, but also that he’s consistently been named as the NFL’s best defensive player during an era that has also included T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, Bobby Wagner, Darius Leonard, and his very own LA Rams teammate over the last two seasons at cornerback.
He’s on the First-Team All-Pro defense this year too.
Jalen Ramsey was named to the First-Team All-Pro defense for the third time in his career and the second year in a row. Ramsey finished the season with 16 games played, four interceptions, 77 tackles, and 16 passes defensed. Per Pro-Football-Reference’s advanced stats, Ramsey was targeted 98 times in coverage but only allowed 58 receptions (59%) for 624 yards, with three touchdowns and those four picks.
Donald posted a career-high 84 solo tackles, including 46 assists—more than twice as many as he has had in any other season. He had at least 12 sacks for the fourth straight season, and at least four forced fumbles for the fourth time in the last five years. At 30, Aaron Donald played in a career-high 1,041 snaps and has thus far shown no signs of slowing down.
Donald and T.J. Watt were the only two players on defense who were unanimous selections. Ramsey had the second-highest point total among cornerbacks, falling just shy of Trevon Diggs as the highest vote-getter at the position.
The Rams, Cowboys, and Steelers each had two players on the First-Team All-Pro defense. Cooper Kupp was the lone Rams played listed on the First-Team All-Pro offense, an unsurprising accomplishment after Kupp led the NFL in catches, yards, and touchdowns. Kupp was also a unanimous selection, as was running back Jonathan Taylor and receiver Davante Adams.
No Rams players made second team. Matt Gay and Johnny Hekker each received a single vote.