The Los Angeles Rams roster looks vastly different than it has in previous years. The Rams bucked the normal team building strategies most teams employ by trading valuable draft capital in exchange for proven NFL talent and star power.
Their strategy worked as they were able to take home the Super Bowl LVI trophy but have since fallen from grace after a dismal 2022 showing.
Entering 2023, Los Angeles has fewer household names and more unproven talent on both sides of the field. However, the defense does still feature Aaron Donald, who is healthy following an offseason tightrope surgery to address the high-ankle sprain that cost him the multiple games down the strech of 2022.
Throughout his nine-year career, Donald’s earned a reputation as one of –if not the– best players in the league and that respect from his peers normally reflects itself in the NFL’s annual Top 100 list. This year, however, it looks like Donald’s slipped down the rankings as he landed at No. 11 overall:
9️⃣9️⃣ PROBLEMS. pic.twitter.com/aa4sAGdoa6
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 4, 2023
Donald fell nine spots from last year when he was named the No. 2 overall player by his peers following his dominant postseason. However, it seems that the injury and a quieter season by his standards were the reasons for the slip. Donald recorded five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, 49 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits in 11 games in 2022.
No. 11 might feel low to Rams fans, but that should say a lot about the level that Donald’s played at in recent years. At his best, he is by far and away the best defensive player and can single-handedly turn a game on its head.
Despite the ranking, Los Angeles is confident that a healthy Donald can return to form and remind everyone just how dominant he is.
Aaron Donald motivated as ever to prove himself
With so many awards and accolades under his belt, Donald will go down as one of the greatest players in NFL history. Entering his 10th season, the star defensive tackle has got nothing left to prove though he said he is as motivated as ever to show the world what he can still do.
There’s no doubt that falling out of the top 10 in the NFL’s annual top 100 list will only motivate Donald even more, which could be a scary sight for the rest of the league.
Another Rams player who should have motivation due to his ranking is Cooper Kupp, who fell from fourth all the way to 47th after his injury-plagued season/