Pro Football Focus released its list of 101 best players in the NFL in 2020 on Monday, and Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, safety John Johnson III, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, cornerback Darious Williams and offensive lineman Rob Havenstein all made the cut.
Donald checked in at No. 1 this year after being No. 2 last year, while Whitworth, Johnson, Ramsey, Williams and Havenstein were ranked after going unranked following the 2019 season.
"Donald once again led the league in total pressures with 98, 21 more than any other player and 28 more than any other interior defender," PFF lead NFL analyst Sam Monson wrote as part of his analysis. "Donald is still the only player to lead the league in total pressures from a primarily interior alignment since we started tracking data in 2006, and he has now done so in three of the past four seasons."
Whitworth joined Donald in the top 50, coming in at No. 47 after being unranked last year. Monson suggested the only reason Whitworth didn't rank higher on the list was because of the games missed due to his knee injury, but his body of work before and after the injury was enough to still rank him as high as he was.
"What Andrew Whitworth is doing at 39 years old is bordering on ridiculous, highlighted by returning from a knee injury that looked like a certain season-ender in time to play two postseason games for the Rams," Monson wrote. "The loss of playing time is the only thing keeping Whitworth as far down the list as he is because his play was up there with the best tackles in football this season. He allowed 16 total pressures in 11 games, and 10 of those came in the two playoff games after he had rushed back from injury to try and contribute to a postseason run."
Johnson was slotted at No. 51 thanks to how well he executed his role as defensive signal-caller, and he was praised accordingly.
"While most of the ink was dedicated to the play of Jalen Ramsey and the cornerbacks, safety John Johnson III had an excellent season in which he confused opposing quarterbacks with all of the disguised coverages the team ran," Monson wrote. "Johnson's 85.3 overall mark was the best mark of his career, and he notched nine pass breakups to go along with his lone interception."
Ramsey checked in at No. 64, landing on the list because of his strong coverage throughout the season.
"Ramsey allowed three touchdowns on the season, but with one pick and nine pass breakups, he was only beaten for a passer rating of 76.3 when targeted," Monson wrote. "Ramsey allowed fewer than 400 yards, including the playoffs, at less than 10 yards per reception."
Williams and Havenstein rounded out the Rams' representation on the list at Nos. 81 and 86 respectively. Like Johnson, Monson note that even though Ramsey got most of the headlines, Williams also deserved recognition because of the way he produced.
"Williams had four picks and 10 pass breakups in the regular season, allowing a passer rating of just 59.9 when targeted," Monson wrote. "He allowed exactly half of his targets to be caught."
Havenstein, meanwhile, earned praise for his bounceback performance in 2020.
"Havenstein's PFF pass-blocking grade jumped almost 20 points back above 70.0, and his run blocking was formidable at 83.9," Monson wrote.
To view the entire PFF 101, including criteria used for the selections, click here.