Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, it is the third time the defensive tackle has received the award, making him one of the all-time greats in his position. Donald arguably had the best year of his career last season. He played all 16 regular season games, recording 13.5 sacks, 45 combined tackles, and four forced fumbles.
The 29-year-old went into the 2020 season in great physical shape. He was much bigger than previous seasons and that was something Donald had worked on to give him an even greater edge on the field. While many of his teammates were enjoying their rest, Donald was putting in double-day workouts and it appeared to pay off.
Unfortunately for Donald, the season did not end the way he wanted it to for his team. They were able to cause an upset against the number three seeds Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card Round, beating the NFC West winners 30-20. But, in the Divisional Round, they were no match for the Green Bay Packers, losing 32-18 at Lambeau Field.
Sean McVay’s side was involved in a blockbuster trade last month which saw veteran QB Matthew Stafford come to the franchise, with former first-round overall pick Jared Goff going to Detroit. This move could give Donald and his teammates a great chance of reaching the Super Bowl next season. They are currently 14/1 in NFL odds on bet365 to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy next year, but who knows? Maybe their odds could change in line with this trade.
Could Donald Be Even Stronger In 2021?
One thing is for sure going into the 2021 regular season, Donald will not be complacent. He will want to improve on his numbers this year and capture a fourth NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
Although Donald is considered to be the best player at his position in the NFL, there were a number of players last season who also stood out. Pittsburgh’s TJ Watt was one of them. Some pundits felt the Steelers man was unfortunate to miss out on the leading defensive prize.
Donald is likely to respond well to the competition from Watt. He is already back in training after having a week off to spend some time with his family. Not only has he been working hard on gaining more muscle, but he has also been out on the field trying to get quicker.
That was one of the things that stood out to NFL pundits in 2020. Although Donald was physically bigger, it did not slow him down. He was able to get to the quarterback at ferocious speed, pushing off any resistance from the offensive line.
The defensive tackle could be at his peak age now so it is going to be fascinating to see if he can take his game to an even higher level when the new campaign begins in September.
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