There may not be a more dominant player at his respective position than Aaron Donald. The All-Pro defensive tackle is a force to be reckoned with on the inside, constantly causing problems for opposing centers and guards. Not only does he stop the run with the best of them, but he’s a valuable pass rusher, too — a rare trait for a 3-technique DT.
His numbers this season aren’t as earth-shattering as they were a year ago when he had 11 sacks and 69 tackles, but he’s been productive after a relatively slow start in the sack department. He now has five on the year to go along with 27 tackles in eight games, putting him on pace for 10 sacks and 54 tackles — about his yearly average.
“The production might not show, but I feel it,” Donald said, via ESPN. “I just feel a lot more comfortable, that there’s different things that I can do as far as pass-rushing and changing up things that are helping me a lot more this year.”
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His teammates are obviously impressed with the way he destroys offensive lines, and Michael Brockers admits he was built to play defensive tackle.
“God built him to play D-tackle, man,” Brockers said. “He built a 6-1, 280-, 290-pound bowling ball with the strength of two men.”
Donald certainly puts in work in the weight room, improving his strength and physical traits on the field. However, he’s also improved his game in the film room, too.
“I’ve learned to understand things a lot more,” Donald said. “I always take it like studying for a test.”
Donald is certainly a contender for Defensive Player of the Year, especially with J.J. Watt sidelined due to an injury. He says it would “be awesome” to win the award, but he’s just doing his job.
“If it happens, it happens. But my main focus ain’t that,” he said. “When you start focusing on things like that, you start putting pressure on yourself.”