Aaron Donald has cemented himself as the best defender in the NFL and one of the best ever with his dominance on the defensive line since 2014. But one of his former coaches had a very interesting description of just how good he is.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Lions secondary coach Aubrey Pleasant, who spent the last few years with Donald on the Los Angeles Rams, joked that Donald might be the best cornerback he's ever played with. He explained that Donald puts so much pressure on opposing quarterbacks that it makes the jobs of all of the Rams cornerbacks significantly easier.
“I joke and tell people that the greatest corner I’ve ever played with is Aaron Donald,” Pleasant said. “In order to be a successful football team, things have to marry and they have to collaborate. And I think the pass rush, as well as the ability to play sticky coverage no matter what your philosophy is, I think they go hand in hand and I think when those things work together, it makes it very difficult for opposing offense.”
It's hard to argue the point. Since 2014, Donald has recorded 85.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, and 201 QB hits.
Having a player like Donald undoubtedly makes the jobs easier of everyone around him. That includes the cornerbacks and safeties.
The end result is a defense that ranked No. 1 in yards and points allowed in 2020. Donald earned his third NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in the last four years for his efforts.
And at only 29 years old (today is his birthday), he could be a terror for opposing offenses for another five to 10 years.