Aaron Donald is your 2020 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was announced as the winner during Saturday evening's NFL honors show. You've probably heard that one before about the Los Angeles Rams interior defensive lineman and history tells us you'll probably hear it again soon -- this is the third time Donald has won the defense's most prestigious award in the last four seasons. This is the official award recognized by the league and is voted on by a panel of 50 media members who cover the NFL.
Here's a brief snapshot of the former first-round pick's career. In 2014, as a rookie, he won Defensive Rookie of the Year and was named to the Pro Bowl. In 2015, he was named first team All Pro and a Pro Bowler. In 2016, he once again doubled up on first team All Pro and the Pro Bowl. In 2017, he accomplished those two things again but also won Defensive Player of the Year. He had the walk-off season in 2018 as your DPOY, first team All Pro and Pro Bowler before missing out on DPOY in 2019. Now, in 2020, he has once again accomplished all three.
Donald just put himself in a class with J.J. Watt and Lawrence Taylor -- the only other two players in NFL history to win the Defensive Player of the Year award three times in their careers. Donald is still just 29 years old. Donald finished the 2020 season tied for No. 2 in the NFL with 13.5 sacks. He also finished with the sixth-most tackles for loss (14) and the fourth-most quarterback hits (28), according to Pro Football Focus. He led the NFL with 98 quarterback pressures.
Donald has now totaled 85.5 sacks, 131 tackles for loss, 201 quarterback hits and 19 forced fumbles in his career.
Some might call Donald a lock future Hall of Famer now and can you really blame them?