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Jeff Fisher: I’ve never seen a tackle dominate like Aaron Donald

Eugene Sims, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers


Rams coach Jeff Fisher was an assistant coach on the 1985 Bears, and on the great Eagles defenses of the late 1980s. He knows a great defense when he sees it.

And Fisher says that when it comes to defensive dominance, he’s never seen anything like his own second-year defensive tackle, Aaron Donald.

“The way Aaron Donald played, I can’t remember seeing a tackle have an impact on a game the way Aaron Donald did in this game,” Fisher said on Mike & Mike.

Fisher noted that Donald blew up the Seahawks’ final fourth-and-1 play in overtime, but Fisher says it goes way beyond just that, and that Donald was having an outstanding game up to that point as well. Fisher even went so far as to mention Reggie White, perhaps the greatest defensive lineman ever to play the game, when talking about the way Donald affects opposing offenses.

Donald was the defensive rookie of the year last year and is off to a phenomenal start to his second season, and he looks like a brilliant draft choice by the Rams as the 13th overall pick in last year’s NFL draft. In fact, it may be time to ask what on earth those 12 teams that passed on Donald were thinking: In his final season at Pittsburgh Donald won every major award that a defensive lineman can win in college football (the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award for best defensive player, the Outland Trophy for best lineman and the Lombardi Award for best lineman or linebacker), and then put on an amazing display of athleticism at the Scouting Combine. Some teams thought that at 6-foot-1 and 285 pounds he was too small to play defensive tackle in the NFL; those teams ought to re-assess how they evaluate talent.

Of course, the Rams were one of the 12 teams that passed on Donald before using him with their second first-round pick. If the Rams had known what kind of player he was, they wouldn’t have passed on him the first time. They’re lucky he was still available, because he’s turning into one of the best players in the NFL.