Aaron Donald - Pittsburgh
Donald is a fourth-year senior and a three-year starter at defensive tackle. Out of high school, he was rated as a three-star prospect but was not highly recruited. Many of his offers were from MAC schools. The reason for this was his height, or lack thereof. Donald measures only 6000 and has a play weight of around 290. That lack of ideal size did not stop him from having dominating performances.
Donald lines up as a three-technique in Pitt's 4-3 scheme. While he lacks ideal height, he has long arms, is very strong, and is a very good athlete. His initial quickness is exceptional. He, often, is past his opponent before they can get a hand on him. He has very good instincts and reactions and is consistently around the ball. In the run game, he is very disruptive because of his ability to shed blocks and penetrate. This year, he had 26.5 tackles for loss. He is highly competitive with a non-stop motor and is a relentless pursuit player.
Aaron is also a top inside pass rusher. He has quick hands and very good inside hand use. He has the skill set to set up blockers with both his hands and feet. He shows a variety of moves and uses counter moves effectively. Going into their Bowl game, Donald has 10 sacks this year and close to 30 for his career. Donald’s size, athleticism and skill set say he is best suited to play as a three-technique for a one-gap 4-3 defense in the NFL. A team that plays that scheme could very well draft him high. I doubt the 3-4 teams will be that interested. He is not a two-gap type player and can have some trouble with double teams. In the right scheme, he can be a very effective pro.