99 Problems, But The Top Ain’t One

1. Aaron Donald– Today, we conclude the ninth edition of our annual “Best in The Business” project. Nine names have been revealed; one remains at the top of the mountain. I could sit here and talk about him all day long and I don’t think I’m alone because I’m sure others feel the same way. Each year when I’ve done this, a quarterback has claimed the top spot several times (2011, 2012, 2014. 2016 & 2017). In 2013, I had a running back at number one. 2015, J.J. Watt became the first defensive player to be ranked first and last year, Antonio Brown became the first receiver ever to claim the top spot. For just the fourth time, a non-quarterback/non-offensive player has claimed the top spot and the second time ever in the history of The Daily Blitz’s best players list, a defensive player has been named the top player. Aaron Donald checks in as my number one player in the NFL and my top defensive player.

I think you all know my rule by now: You better have game if you have two first names. What he’s done with the Rams has been remarkable. The best football players in the world have it all. He’s one of those defensive players that has every attribute. He’s explosive, he’s competitive, he’s giving you 100 percent on every single play and he’s powerful. It’s safe to say that he has not one weakness and that’s frustrating for an offensive lineman to have to deal with. He’s a true student of the game that studies film relentlessly. He’s been blessed with the ability to do everything. He’s quick enough to run by you, he’ll run through you or even go underneath you. It’s rare to find a defensive tackle playing on the interior that can do all the above. Amongst defensive linemen, he has the fastest first step in the league. He’s so quick and can get into your offensive backfield instantly. He can get to the quarterback with ease at any time. I’ve seen him against double teams and just shed the blockers like it was nothing. When I watch him, I’m just speechless because of all the havoc he creates from the inside. I haven’t seen a defensive tackle this disruptive and dominant on the interior since Warren Sapp. When teams get ready to play the Los Angeles Rams, Aaron is the first player to come up in team meetings, not Todd Gurley.

As a defensive player when you get discussed first in team meetings, you’re a special guy. Last year was an interesting one for number 99. He held out for most of the Summer because of contractual issues. He finally got his contract extension in September, then put together the best year of his career. He recorded 20.5 sacks and was named the defensive MVP for the second consecutive season. It’s been fun to watch him. If he continues to play at this level, he be mentioned amongst the greatest defensive players of all time. In his career, he’s a five-time pro bowler, a four-time first team All-Pro selection and a two-time defensive player of the year winning the award the last two seasons. He’s already on his way to being one of the all-time greats. I see a bust and gold jacket in his future.