Skip Bayless isn’t buying the Aaron Donald hype.
Odell Beckham Jr. called Donald “probably the best player in the league” ahead of the Cleveland Browns’ Week 3 showdown with the Los Angeles Rams, which shouldn’t be all that surprising considering Donald earned the No. 1 spot on NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players” list before the 2019 season. Bayless doesn’t agree with the assessment though, reiterating Thursday on FS1’s “Undisputed” that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the NFL’s best player.
In fact, Bayless isn’t so sure Donald is even the best defensive player. That honor so far this season belongs to Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to Bayless, who used an eyebrow-raising comparison to describe the two-time Pro Bowl selection’s impact on New England’s defense.
“If I have to pick the best defensive player so far that I’ve seen, it’s Stephon Gilmore. He’s starting to be Deion-esque,” said Bayless, referencing Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders. “I’m not saying he’s Deion, but he is so good at what he does. He’s allowing (Bill) Belichick’s defense for the first time in a long time to do different things, because they know he’s going to take somebody out of every play. And that’s what Deion did.”
Bayless, a frequent Patriots supporter, sounds a little biased here. Gilmore has been sensational, and one certainly could argue — like New York Jets head coach Adam Gase did this week — that he’s the best cornerback in the NFL. But “Deion-esque” seems a bit extreme.
Bayless also might be disrespecting Donald, a four-time First-Team All-Pro who’s coming off his second consecutive NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Donald is an absolute force along the Rams’ defensive line and likely will prove it again Sunday night against the Browns’ inconsistent offensive line.