They’ll never be on the field at the same time, but Sunday night’s match up features two of the best defensive tackles in the league, Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles and Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
They’ll never be on the field at the same time. They’ll never go head to head when the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles meet on Sunday Night Football on NBC. They never faced one another when these two teams met a year ago, but football fans will get a taste of two of the best defensive tackles in the NFL when Fletcher Cox and Aaron Donald suit up for Sunday’s final game.
This should be good, especially since we’ve been comparing these two for a while.
Let’s go to our ‘tale of the tape’.
Be honest. If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, the first time you ever heard that Aaron Donald was the best defensive tackle in the game, you probably had some negative feelings about the comment.
After all, the Rams weren’t winning at the time. You probably had no reason to watch the Rams play football. Heck, Rams fans had no reason to watch the Rams play football.
Things have changed, and we can all be honest. Yes, Cox is a beast, but Donald very well may be the best defensive tackle in all of football. Don’t worry. The Eagles aren’t going to trade Cox anytime soon. Let’s just look at some of the numbers.
Since entering the league as the 13th-overall in 2014’s draft, Donald’s racked up 251 tackles, 55.5 sacks and 13 forced fumbles. Cox came in a year earlier. He was Philly’s first-round selection, 12th-overall, in 2012. He’s placed 319 tackles, 40.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles on his resume.
That’s pretty good for two guys who play a position that normally asks guys to eat up blocks and let other teammates make plays.
In 2018, Donald and Cox rank first and second in quarterback hits, 33 for Donald and 27 for Cox, and total pressures, 58 for Donald and 36 for Cox (Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals is tied with Cox in that category with 36 of his own).
Cox is a three-time Pro Bowler (2015-2017). Donald’s been there four times (2017-2017). Cox is a three-time Second-team All-Pro (2014, 2015, 2017), mostly because Donald was on the first team (2015-2017).
Cox was a member of the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2012. Donald shared that same honor in 2014. Add Donald’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2014 and his AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 to Cox’s Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 52, and you have two resumes that most would kill for.
When these guys hang the cleats up, you can expect both to find their way to Canton, Ohio, but that’s years away. For now, we all get to witness their greatness. Another example comes in the final game on Sunday in Week 15 of the NFL’s slate.