Rams News: Khalil Mack Discusses Competing With Aaron Donald For Awards
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams will look vastly different on the defensive side heading into the 2023 season after the organization parted ways with numerous players in the offseason.

Gone are stars like Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner, meaning the Rams will rely on their young players and rookies to fill the gaps on defense during the 2023 season. It’s going to be a learning curve for the franchise as they try to balance developing players and winning with the few veterans they still have on the roster.

Fortunately, Los Angeles isn’t completely barren defensively as they’ve still got Aaron Donald to anchor the line up front. Donald suffered a high ankle sprain that ended his 2022 campaign prematurely but is expected to be 100 percent healthy for training camp.

Donald’s still got the respect of his peers around the league, including Khalil Mack, who was selected in the 2014 NFL Draft eight spots ahead of the Rams star. Donald and Mack are considered two of the best defensive players in the NFL and Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher admitted that he’s been competing with Donald for awards since, via “Cold As Balls”:

“I had goals coming into the league,” Mack said. “First year, Defensive Rookie of the Year. Wanted to get that. Aaron Donald. 2016 comes, my third year in the league, Defensive Player of the Year. My other goal that I had. Obviously, special moment, wanted to do it again. 2017, it’s Aaron Donald.”

Donald and Mack have never directly been in any rivalries considering they’ve spent of their time in opposite conferences, but there’s no denying that each had a case for awards like Defensive Player of the Year during their peaks. However, while Mack has dropped off a bit, Donald remains a force of nature when he’s healthy. The Rams defensive tackle is still revered as the most disruptive player in the NFL and hasn’t shown any real signs of slowing down.

Mack’s list of accomplishments isn’t anything to scoff at he was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, and has been named to four First-team All-Pro teams in his career. Donald’s resume is on another level, though, as he’s racked up three DPOYs, seven First-team All-Pro nods and a Super Bowl championship.

While Donald has beaten out Mack for several awards, his biggest accomplishment could be ahead of him if he’s able to carry an inexperienced Rams team back to the playoffs.