2014 NFL Draft: Prospect Profile -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The hottest prospect at the Senior Bowl. Is Aaron Donald really as good as advertised?

Aaron Donald is a curious case. He was labeled undersized, and without a real position in the NFL at a mere 6-feet, 288 pounds. For this reason, he was not considered a first-round player. Then the Senior Bowl practice week happened and he blew everything up and got everybody's attention. Thing is, Donald has been doing this all season. We just weren't paying attention.

Pros

- Burst off the snap is best for the defensive tackles in this class. Yes, even better than Ra'shede Hageman.

- Arm over swim move and club moves are devastating. Helps him win instantaneously.

- Hustle. Never is out of a play, and his pursuit is outstanding. Have seen him make tackles 20-25 yards downfield

- Low center of gravity allows him to win leverage battles easily. Like a wrecking ball inside.

- Hip flexibility allows him to change direction while going full speed ahead. Saw similar traits in Sheldon Richardson last year.

- Team leader. Was heralded by many when he won the Bednarik Award.

Cons

- Length. Arms are 31.75 inches and you'd like them to be a bit longer.

- Weight could be a bit more to hold up against the run. Will he lose explosion?

- Can't stack the offensive line and hold the point of attack as well as some of the other defensive tackles.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Sadly, yes. I'm always enamored with 3 techniques, and Donald is the best one in this class. I watched him more because of the hype of Senior Bowl week and fell more and more in love with what I saw. He slots in perfectly next to a prototype 1 technique like Johnathan Hankins. One could make a compelling argument to take him at 12, but I just don't see the Giants going for an early-round defensive tackle for the fourth year in a row.

Prospect Video

Aaron Donald vs Florida State (2013) (via DCheeseB)

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 34

Mocking The Draft - 33

CBS Sports - 20

Draft Countdown - 84

Draft Tek - 53

Final Thoughts

Donald will surely rise in all of these rankings after his terrific week at the Senior Bowl. After watching more of his games (try watching his game against Georgia Tech, where he racks up six tackles for loss and two sacks), I'm convinced he has the upside to be an impact player at the next level. I don't have him ranked as high as I did with Sheldon Richardson (whom I gave the top overall grade in the 2013 NFL Draft class) mainly because his length and his explosion isn't quite at that level , but he will likely be a top 32 pick come May.

Keep up with Big Blue View

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Big Blue View

You must be a member of Big Blue View to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Big Blue View. You should read them.

Join Big Blue View

You must be a member of Big Blue View to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Big Blue View. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker