Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was named to the National Football League Player Association’s Defense First Team All-Pro.
It is the first iteration of an annual All-Pro team from the NFLPA, where only active players are allowed to vote. Active players are only allowed to vote for their own position group and who they line up against. Furthermore, they are not allowed to vote for themselves or their teammates. Lastly, players who had missed five or more games as of Week 15 were deemed ineligible.
The NFLPA’s All-Pro team is separate from the Associated Press All-Pro team which has yet to be announced.
Donald was the only Rams player to make the First Team and one of only two defensive linemen selected, with Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones being the other. Despite a shortened 2022 campaign, Donald’s reputation precedes himself and the league clearly still holds him in high regard. Los Angeles may have finished 5-12 on the year, but that doesn’t take away from how effective Donald is when he takes the field.
The Rams star defensive tackle appeared in 11 games total, recording five sacks, 49 total tackles, 11 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Those are underwhelming numbers compared to other seasons for Donald, though it speaks to the standard he’s established since entering the NFL.
In some ways, being named to this All-Pro team is a higher honor for players like Donald as it is strictly voted on by their peers. Donald is an absolute force whenever he takes the field, and opposing teams know to make him the focal point of game plans when they take on Los Angeles.
It’s great to see Donald make the inaugural NFLPA All-Pro First Team, but what really matters is if he’ll be making a return to the Rams next season. There are rumblings he could decide to finally retire given the uncertainty of head coach Sean McVay’s future, so it’ll be interesting to see how things play out in the coming months.
NFLPA announces All-Pro First Teams
The NFLPA announced the members of their First Team All-Pro lists.
Offense: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Kyle Juszczyk, Trent Williams, Joel Bitonio, Lane Johnson, Zack Martin, Jason Kelce
Defense: Chris Jones, Aaron Donald, Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, Dexter Lawrence, Roquan Smith, Fred Warner, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James Jr., Pat Surtain II, Darius Slay
Special Teams: Jason Meyers, Tommy Townsend, KaVontae Turpin, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jeremy Reaves, Justin Hardee, Morgan Cox