Does Aaron Donald deserve to be an NFL first-ballot Hall of Famer?

Does Aaron Donald deserve to be a NFL first-ballot Hall of Famer?
Does Aaron Donald deserve to be a NFL first-ballot Hall of Famer?

Aaron Donald is one of the best overall players currently in the NFL and one of the best defensive linemen of all time. He is a dominant force on the interior of the Los Angeles Rams defensive line and his contributions played a major role in earning them a victory in the 2022 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals.

To cap off yet another excellent season, Donald recorded two sacks against Joe Burrow during the Super Bowl. One of them was on the last offensive play of the game for the Bengals, which clinched a victory for the Rams. On the previous play before the game-winning sack, Aaron Donald made a crucial stop on a rushing play that prevented the Bengals from completing a first down and continuing their drive.

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, rumors were swirling that Donald could potentially retire immediately following the game if the Rams were to win. He is just 30 years old and still in the prime of his career, but apparently early retirement is something he's considered. He was asked about it after the game, but he was non-commital with his answer, opting to instead just enjoy the moment before taking time to weigh his options.

Though he has only been in the NFL for eight years, if Donald retired today he would likely already be the first ballot Hall of Famer. His impact on the game and list of achievements in such a short time are already impressive enough for him to punch his ticket.

Aaron Donald's dominant NFL career

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald

After eight years in the NFL, Aaron Donald has been voted into the Pro Bowl eight times while earning a first-team All-Pro selection for the past seven consecutive years. He earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in his first season and has followed that up with a top five finish in the Defensive Player of the Year award race every season since then. He has won the award three times already.

Donald has started 123 regular-season games in his career while accumulating a massive statistical line. He has recorded 98 sacks, 23 forced fumbles, six recovered fumbles, 16 passes blocked, 226 quarterback hits, 150 tackles for a loss and one safety. In ten career playoff games, he has recorded six sacks, 17 quarterback hits and ten tackles for a loss.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht
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