Want to give the author direct feedback? Follow @D_Withers02 on Twitter for more insight.
The Los Angeles Rams have been one of the most dominant forces within the NFL this season. With one of the most highly efficient offenses in league, many blame the defense for the team’s rare inconsistencies. However, the play of DT Aaron Donald has been overlooked in the MVP conversation, even though he is already in the history books. Here are where the numbers stand:
While the difference between the sack leaders on an annual basis are typically marginal, the 2018 season hasn’t been close. Aaron Donald has 20.5 sacks, which is 4.5 more than the next-closest individual, Houston Texans’ JJ Watt. In comparison to the next-closest defensive tackle, the difference 10 with Seattle Seahawks’ Jarron Reed and Philadelphia Eagles’ Fletcher Cox.
Since the start of the century, 13 of the last 18 MVP winners have come from the quarterback position. This includes the last 5 honorees, with names such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the mix. The efforts made on defense are often brushed aside in the eyes of voters, and the defensive tackle position near the top of the list.
As long as big names such as Drew Brees are in the league, superstars such as Aaron Donald may never receive the respect they deserve. Even after the current Hall of Fame quarterbacks retire, we will see an overload of younger talent, i.e. Patrick Mahomes.
In the year 1989, Minnesota Vikings DT Keith Millard set the NFL record for sacks by a defensive tackle with 18.0. In Week 16, Aaron Donald smashed that record, and now sits with 20.5 sacks on the season. Millard played in the NFL for 6 years, and Donald has surpassed his sack totals in 5 years by 1.5.
Back in August, the Los Angeles Rams agreed to sign Aaron Donald to a 6-year, $135M extension. Within the contract, $87M was guaranteed for the defensive tackle. Based on his current deal, Donald’s contract is worth more than superstars in Aaron Rodgers and Von Miller.