Lawrence Taylor is widely regarded as the best defensive player to ever play the game. A simple look at his highlights and stats will reveal as to why. However, Aaron Donald is unquestionably one of the best defensive players of his generation.
Lawrence Taylor questions if the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle is the greatest of all time (GOAT) on the defensive side of the ball. The former New York Giants linebacker took to social media to share his thoughts on the matter. Taylor used the thought emoji to say that Donald may not be the true GOAT.
Lawrence Taylor was the second overall pick of the 1981 NFL Draft by the New York Giants out of North Carolina. In his rookie season, he had nine and a half sacks and an interception, winning both AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year that season. Taylor remains the only player in NFL history to win both honors in the same season.
He followed up his rookie season with another spectacular one in 1982, getting seven and a half sacks and an interception. The linebacker won his second consecutive AP Defensive Player award, making him the first player in history to win the award in two straight seasons.
In the 1986 season, Taylor won his third AP Defensive Player of the Year award of his career. He led the NFL that season with 20.5 sacks, tied for the fourth-most in a single season all-time.
On top of the NFL AP MVP and three AP Defensive Player of the Year awards, Taylor was a 10-time Pro Bowler. He was an eight-time First-Team All-Pro and a two-time Super Bowl winner. He ended his 13-year NFL career with 132.5 official sacks and 142 unofficial sacks. Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Comparing Aaron Donald to Lawrence Taylor
Like Taylor, Donald was a first-round draft pick and was selected 13th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Rams out of Pittsburgh. He won the AP NFL Rookie of the Year in the 2014 season after getting nine sacks and two forced fumbles.
Another similarity shared is that the Rams defensive tackle won the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons. Donald won his first Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017 with 11 sacks and his second in 2018 with a league-leading 20 sacks.
He won his third AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. With this he tied with Lawrence Taylor and Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt as the only players to win the award three times. The Los Angeles defensive tackle has 98 career sacks, the most by a player in the league since 2014.
Donald signed a three-year, $95 million contract extension this offseason, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL. At 31 years old, we’ll see if the Rams superstar can take home a record-breaking fourth AP Defensive Player of the Year award in the 2022 season.
Q. Who's the NFL Defensive GOAT?
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