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

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

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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.


- 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.


- 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.

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