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From Super Bowl LVI: Rams DL Aaron Donald Thinks Titans DL Jeffery Simmons is "A Special Type of Talent"


LOS ANGELES – Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is one of the game's most dominant defensive players.

He's an eight-time Pro Bowler and a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner who has been named first-team All-Pro seven times.

Here on Monday, leading up to Super Bowl LVI, Donald was asked about Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, and he raved about what he's seen – as well as what he thinks will come next.

"I think he's a great football player, and I think he is growing into his own," Donald said of Simmons. "I think he made some noise last year, but he made a big name for himself this year. Obviously, we played (the Titans) this year and I saw him – he had three sacks when we played him, so he showed up then. I think he is going to be a special talent, one of the top d-tackles in this league. He is growing and having a lot of production on the field, and I think he will continue to do that.

"I think he is a special type of talent definitely. For the interior position, to be play the run the way he does and then translate that in pass rush, I think he is going to have a great career in front of him."

Simmons, who made his first Pro Bowl appearance this year, recorded a career-best 8.5 sacks in 2021, and he led the Titans with 58 quarterback pressures. Simmons also ranked second on the squad with 12 tackles for loss.

Simmons led or tied for the team lead in sacks four times in 2021, and he led or tied for the team lead in quarterback pressures eight times in 2021. Like Donald said, Simmons registered a career-high three sacks at the L.A. Rams on November 7.

At the Pro Bowl, two more of the NFL's top defensive linemen also offered praise for Simmons.

"Jeffery is going to be one of the elite defensive tackles in this league, especially as he gets older," Colts defensive lineman DeForest Bucker said of Simmons. "He had a great year this year – I love watching him play, with his aggressive type of play. Honestly, the way his mindset, and the way he goes into the games, and then meeting him (at the Pro Bowl) and being able to talk to him at a personal level, he is a really good dude, man.

"I told him earlier in the season I loved watching him play, his playstyle. It is really cool to see the type of player he is forming into and becoming, and I am looking forward to seeing him at Pro Bowls in the future."

Steelers veteran Cameron Heyward also raved about Simmons from the Pro Bowl.

Heyward and Simmons were spotted talking technique on several occasions during Pro Bowl practices in Las Vegas.

"He is one of the premier d-tackles at such a young age," Heyward said of Simmons. "I love his raw power, and he is just going to get better and better. He really came on the scene this year and balled out."

Donald, who has 98 career sacks in eight seasons, said he'd give this advice to Simmons, a first-round pick of the Titans in the 2019 NFL Draft who just completed his third NFL season:

"I'd just tell him to keep working," Donald said of Simmons. "Obviously what he is doing, whatever he is doing, is working for him, so continue to work, never get satisfied.

"The sky is the limit for him."

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