Pitt great Aaron Donald is preparing to play in his eighth NFL season with the Los Angeles Rams, and despite the fact that he has endured seven years of wear and tear, he has constantly performed at an elite level and maintained his status as the best defensive player in the league. As a result, much is expected of Donald in 2021, and his rating in the Madden NFL 22 video game will reflect his elite status.
For the fifth consecutive year, the 6’1”, 280-pound defensive tackle earned a spot in the Madden 99 Club, with a 99 overall rating. Donald has attained a 99 rating in the game series every year dating back to 2018. This time around, it will be lonely at the top, too, as Donald is the only defensive tackle with a 99 rating and one of just seven with a rating of 90 or better. Donald’s closest competitor at the position is Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who has a 94 rating.
Moving outward to the edges of the defensive line, the top-rated edge rusher is Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who has a 98 rating. Meanwhile, Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who dethroned Donald as the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL back in 2018, holds an overall rating of 96.
As of Tuesday, the only other member of the 99 Club in Madden NFL 22 is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. Like Donald, Adams is a multi-year member if the 99 Club, as he was first given a 99 overall rating back in 2020. It appears three more players will make the 99 Club this year as well, as EA Sports released a photo showing five 99 Club member gift boxes but obscured the names.
Donald is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as he came up with 13.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hits and 14 tackles for losses, meaning he was able to pressure opposing quarterbacks despite double teams and the efforts of offensive coordinators to negate his influence. The only time he has posted a higher sack total was in 2018, when he had 20.5.
Madden NFL 22 is set for a worldwide release on Aug. 20. And Donald and the Rams are set to take the field for their first regular-season game on Sept. 12, when they host the Bears for a primetime tilt on Sunday Night Football.