Troy Aikman: Aaron Donald, not Taylor or White, is best defender I've ever seen


Troy Aikman is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though there's a pretty strong case to be made that if the Dallas Cowboys quarterback didn't have to face Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White so frequently early in his career, he may have played longer than 12 seasons.

So that makes what Aikman said during FOX's telecast of the Los Angeles Rams-Seattle Seahawks Wild Card Weekend matchup that much more meaningful:

"I played against Reggie White, I played against Lawrence Taylor...and I gotta tell you, this Aaron Donald is the best defensive player that I've ever seen. He's really remarkable - he should be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and I think he should be getting some votes for MVP of the entire league...he's that good."

For what it's worth, Howie Long, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman, also paid a pretty incredible compliment during the halftime show of the game, saying he believes that by the time Donald retires, he'll be seen as the greatest defensive tackle in the history of the sport.

Friday, Donald was named a first-team All-Pro for the sixth consecutive year, after posting 14 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and 13 1/2 sacks during the 2020 regular season. Though Xavien Howard and T.J. Watt have cases as well, Donald could win his third NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, joining Taylor and J.J. Watt as the only players in NFL history to win the award that many times.

The incredible thing is that Donald, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, shows no signs of slowing down. Whether he ultimately surpasses Lawrence and White and is seen as the most dominant defensive force ever, he already has 85 1/2 career sacks, and would be a Hall of Famer if he walked away today. He, of course, won't, as he won't even celebrate his 30th birthday until May.

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