Scouting service Pro Football Focus earlier this offseason ranked the 32 best interior defenders in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season. Checking in at No. 1: Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.
"No one matches up with Donald statistically since he entered the league in 2014," PFF NFL analyst Ben Linsey wrote as part of his analysis. "Over those seven seasons, Donald ranks first in the league in pass-rush grade (96.3), total pressures (579) and pass-rush wins without pressure (206)."
Donald was also ranked No. 1 on the same list ahead of the 2020 and 2019 seasons. The 2019 ranking came off of winning his second NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award – he won his third last year. Donald also ranked No. 1 on PFF's Top 101 players from the 2020 season.
Heading into this upcoming season, he'll be seeking his fifth-straight season with double-digit sacks after posting 13.5 (tied for second in the league with the Saints' Trey Hendrickson) last year.
New Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris indicated at his press conference in February he would do his part to ensure Donald continues to be set up for success.
"You want him get him lined up and find ways to get him one-on-ones, but at the same time, he's done such a great job of getting his teammates one-on-ones, setting up the guys around him, that you don't want to take away that part of his strength, either," Morris said.