The Two Name Rule

3. Aaron Donald– I can’t believe this is almost over and it’s crazy how these all go by so quickly. For years, people have asked me when this guy was going to be featured on my annual Summer project and I always said hopefully sooner rather than later and we don’t have to wait anymore, he’s finally here and it’s well earned. He’s the second L.A. Ram to make the list and he’s the final player making his debut. Aaron Donald claims the third spot on my ten best players list and he’s my top rated defensive player. I also felt the title of this piece was perfect because those of you who follow me know I have one rule when it comes to athletes and that’s you better have game if you have two first names and clearly, this guy does. It’s one thing when a defensive end or edge rusher creates havoc, but it’s rare to see it from the interior of the defensive line and that’s what he does. He’s such a fierce competitor and when you think you have him blocked, he sheds it with his quick, yet violent hands and he’s in the face of the ball-carrier. He puts a lot of stress on an offensive line because he’s so disruptive, he gets off blocks easily and he wins his battles early. You have guys that I refer to as “pocket pushers” and guys that can just collapse the quarterback’s pocket, he can do both and he does it very efficiently. He’s such a powerful football player and the crazy thing is he’s undersized for his position. Most defensive linemen are 6’2 at the shortest or 6’5 at the tallest and he stands only at six feet and 284 pounds, but plays as if he’s bigger and makes his presence known. He uses his height to his advantage on the field because those shorter players are always the most difficult to defend and he can get under an offensive lineman and push him back with his strength and power and he gets low, the top football rule is the lowest man always wins. He does so much to get past people. He’s got a scary swim move, his footwork complements his agility and he’s shifty all over the line and can slide by people to make the tackle. His 2017 season was his best and he was named the defensive player of the year for the first time in his career and this won’t be his last one. Both he and Von Miller are the two most disruptive defenders in the NFL today and you always have to know where they each are.