Pitt alum and Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald wrapped up the eighth regular season of his NFL career on Sunday, and on Friday, he was honored as a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press for the seventh consecutive season. Donald was also one of five unanimous first-team selections.
Donald’s feat is unprecedented in the Super Bowl era, as he is the first defensive player in that time period to earn first-team All-Pro honors in seven straight seasons. In addition, Donald has made the Pro Bowl in each of his eight seasons in the NFL, and after being named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, he has since been named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
This season, Donald amassed a career-high 84 tackles, including 19 tackles for losses and 12.5 sacks, in 17 games. The defensive tackle also came up with 25 quarterback hits and neared career highs in pass breakups and forced fumbles, as he racked up four of each over the course of the 2021 season.
As a result of his impressive performance, Donald was also the highest-graded defensive player in the NFL in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus, which gave him a run-defense grade of 90.0 that led the NFL; a pass-rush grade of 92.7 that led all interior defensive linemen; and an overall grade of 93.6. 2021 was the sixth straight year Donald finished as the NFL’s highest-graded defender.
With his place on the All-Pro first team secured for the seventh straight year, Donald will look to build on this season’s achievements in the playoffs, as the Rams are set to take on the Arizona Cardinals in a wild-card matchup on Monday. Donald will have a chance to hit a career milestone in the playoffs, as he has 98 career sacks and needs two more for 100.