Aaron Donald is the defensive player of the year

Los Angeles Rams v Miami Dolphins
Getty Images

For the third time in four years, Aaron Donald has been named defensive player of the year by the Associated Press.

Donald is the third three-time winner of the award, joining Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor and Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt. The honor was given out at the NFL Honors show in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“To be the third to do it that is truly a blessing. It shows the body of work that I have; anytime your hard work is rewarded you are going to be happy about that. It is just a blessing,” Donald said, via the Associated Press.

Donald had 13.5 sacks in 2020, the second-highest total of his career. The defensive tackle also had 14 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and 28 quarterback hits.

The Rams’ defensive tackled edged out Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt for the award, 27-20.  Watt led the league with 15.0 sacks and 23 tackles for loss, also registering seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and 41 quarterback hits.

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who led the league with 10 interceptions and 20 passes defensed, received the remaining three votes.

“From stopping the run to rushing the passer to just trying to dominate, I think I am a rounded player,” Donald said. “I feel I can do everything. No matter the size of the person, as long as you can play at high level and be productive, that is all that matters.

“I will always say my overall game, my mindset is always trying to find ways to get better, stay consistent from stopping the run and rushing the passer. When you make a name for yourself it just gets 10 times harder. So I got to always find ways to improve as a rounded football player, and that’s what I will continue to do.”

Donald previously won the award in 2017 and 2018.

17 responses to “Aaron Donald is the defensive player of the year

  1. Donald is a hell of a player . But Watt had better numbers and was robbed . At min they should have been co MVP’s .

  2. Watt played one less game than Donald but had better stats. No real legitimate reason for Donald to have won DPOY.

  3. I’m sorry, but Donald is just utterly DOMINANT. He gets sacks that a full time DE would envy. I love Howard, but no way should he have gotten any votes over Donald. Watt is great, but Donald will be a first ballot HOF’r…

  4. For people saying Watt is more deserving are clearly not grasping the position Aaron Donald plays. AD also has to face double/triple/quadruple defenders at a higher rate than Watt.

    Watt had an awesome season but AD was more dominant in my opinion and lead the Rams to the #1 Defense in the league.

  5. If you think Watt was better (and he was also very deserving), then you are just blinded by too many stats.

  6. TG1 says:
    February 6, 2021 at 10:42 pm
    For people saying Watt is more deserving are clearly not grasping the position Aaron Donald plays. AD also has to face double/triple/quadruple defenders at a higher rate than Watt.

    ——————-

    Offset by the fact that Watt also drops into coverage. And as an interior DLineman Donald should have more tackles than Watt, not less. DPOY award has become a popularity contest like the Pro Bowl.

  7. At the rate the Rams are giving up draft picks. Donald is going to be the youngest guy on the team in two years.

  8. What a joke. Aaron Donald and his 13.5 sacks doesn’t make squat of an impact. Oh Gee he made a play on 13.5 plays per how many hundred?

    He sucks against the run. I said it.

  9. Congrats Donald very deserving . For this crying saying TJ Watt should of won , you don’t understand football apparently. Donald was double or triple teamed almost every play still posted those numbers while making his teammates jobs easier.Watt had a great year not good enough if he really want one he can steal the last one his brother “won”. Wichita was actually stolen from Donald who deserved it much mor than JJ .

  10. Why don’t they announce DPOY at the beginning of the year since stats and on-field play don’t actually matter? Watt was robbed, this award is a joke.

  11. smokingafatone says:
    February 7, 2021 at 7:10 am
    Congrats Donald very deserving . For this crying saying TJ Watt should of won , you don’t understand football apparently. Donald was double or triple teamed almost every play still posted those numbers while making his teammates jobs easier

    ————-

    Speaking of not understanding football, TJ Watt who was also double and triple teamed, also drops into coverage, so he does far more than Donald on less rushes to the QB. That more than makes up for any dropoff in stats due to extra double or triple teaming which by the way is just theoretical. The whole world knows TJ Watt is the real DPOY, even Vegas had him favored so you always go with the money. Donald had a good year and is a good guy but Watt far surpassed him. It’s a shame that his award is now tainted with an asterisk due to voting by biased sports writers from big West coast markets who basically now run a popularity contest. And for the argument that TJs raw stats really don’t matter, then why did Gilmore win it last year with just raw interception stats?

  12. Mr. Watt was robbed, but at least Mr. Donald represents Pittsburgh as well. Pittsburgh born and raised, attended University of Pittsburgh. Western PA, the cradle of football.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.