Rams' Aaron Donald Wins 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2021

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald smiles as he stands on the sideline late in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)
Scott Eklund/Associated Press

For the third time, Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald is the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

His three victories tie him with Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt for the all-time lead, and you can't rule out a fourth win in the future given how dominant the 29-year-old is nearly every time he sets foot on the field.

Not only is Donald likely to be recognized as the greatest defensive player of his generation, but he'll also have an argument to be the best at any position as long as he remains on his current trajectory.

The seven-time Pro Bowler finished the 2020 season with 44 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Voter fatigue can be an issue when the same player is in the hunt for an award over multiple years. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt built a strong DPOY case for himself, too, by leading the NFL in sacks (15) and tackles for loss (23).

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero spoke with 22 team executives from across the league, and 19 of them gave their vote to Donald for DPOY.

"You can't block him with one, and then he beats two a lot of the time," one said. "He's a game-wrecker you need to account for every play, in both phases. He's one of the few D-tackles that can take over a game."

One of the best things you can say about the Rams star is that he makes everything look so simple. He's so quick and strong that he only needs one or two moves before he collapses the pocket or blows up a running play in the backfield.

The Checkdown @thecheckdown

AARON DONALD IS WILDIN' RIGHT NOW 😤 @AaronDonald97 @RamsNFL 📺 #SFvsLAR on FOX https://t.co/IVdr9u0UgR


Aaron Donald is hungry. #RamsHouse 📺: #NEvsLAR on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO 📱: https://t.co/W5bCPYgMfo https://t.co/fO4HG0prIv

The Checkdown @thecheckdown

Aaron Donald sacked him with one arm 😱 @AaronDonald97 @RamsNFL 📺 #LARvsSEA on FOX https://t.co/4NJA6Yfcc1

Barring injury, fans have every reason to believe Donald will pick up where he left off in 2021, and a fourth DPOY nod in five years could be within reach.