Aaron Donald gets high praise in ranking of best pass rushers from every gap

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Aaron Donald is primarily a 3-technique defensive tackle, but part of what makes him so outstanding as a pass rusher is his versatility. Donald can line up in any gap on the defensive line and beat the guy (or guys) across from him, whether it’s a center or left tackle.

Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire recently ranked the NFL’s best pass rusher from each gap and rather than Donald being placed at several different spots, he earned higher praise than anyone on the list.

His versatility warranted selection as the best pass rusher from everywhere, according to Farrar.

Before we get into specifics, we should mention that while Donald doesn’t top the list at any one position, it’s because he’s so great… well, everywhere. It’s yet another way in which, when we talk about defensive linemen, there is Aaron Donald, and there is everybody else. Last season, including the playoffs, Donald had 14 solo sacks and 78 total pressures. Only Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barrett and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt had more total pressures, and Donald tied with Watt for the NFL’s most solo sacks. Keep in mind that while Barrett and Watt were most often detached form the formation and rushing from the edge, Donald was more often than not getting his work done from the inside, and as a constant focus of the opposing offensive line.

Last season, Donald had six sacks and 31 pressures as a 3-tech tackle, two sacks and 18 pressures as a 4i tackle, two sacks and nine pressures as a 4-tech tackle, one sack and seven pressures as a five-tech end, three sacks and nine pressures as a 7-tech end, and two pressures as a 9-tech end. Basically, wherever you line Aaron Donald up, he’s going to demolish your quarterback.

Donald has established himself as the best pass rusher in the league regardless of position, and he does so primarily from the interior. He’s double-teamed on most of his pass-rush reps, too, yet he still racked up 13.5 sacks and 28 QB hits last season as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He’s once again favored to win the award this year and after making the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven NFL seasons, he’s a good bet to be selected again in 2021, too.