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Aaron Donald | Defensive End

Team: Pittsburgh Panthers
Age / DOB:  (27) / 5/23/1991
Ht / Wt:  6'0" / 285

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Rams selected Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Donald (6-foot 7/8, 288) was a dominant interior penetrator at Pitt, earning the Outland, Nagurski, Bednarik, and Rotary Lombardi awards in addition to ACC Defensive POY as a senior. He registered 28.5 TFLs, 11 sacks, and four forced fumbles in 2013. Donald is smallish in stature, but shoots gaps with quick-twitch explosion, clocking a 4.68 forty and 9-foot-8 broad jump at the Combine before pumping 35 reps on the bench. He is a three-technique tackle and should begin causing interior disruption as soon as he steps on an NFL field. St. Louis' defensive line is insanely loaded with Chris Long and Robert Quinn on the ends, and Donald now playing next to NT Michael Brockers. Thu, May 8, 2014 09:36:00 PM

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ESPN NFL insider Adam Caplan does not expect the Vikings to select a QB at No. 8 overall.

Instead, Caplan predicts the team will select a defensive player, either a defensive lineman or a corner. Pitt's Aaron Donald has been linked to the Vikings recently, but we would be surprised if he is still on the board. The team could attempt to trade up for Khalil Mack.
Tue, May 6, 2014 09:36:00 AM's Daniel Jeremiah hears Minnesota is eying Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald at No. 8.

The MMQB's Peter King reported earlier Monday that the Vikings wanted a "front-seven disruptor" at No. 8. Donald is undoubtedly that, an undersized terror who lives in the opponent's backfield, though this year's wildly unpredictable draft makes it impossible to know where he'll be selected.
Mon, May 5, 2014 07:38:00 PM

The Vikings are hoping to draft a front-seven disruptor at No. 8, according to the MMQB's Peter King.

King notes Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald comes to mind, but we think he will be gone by the pick. Every team can use Donald's tendency of creating interior disruption. Ra'Shede Hageman could be the next best prospect who has upfield skills, but his comes in flashes. "The Vikings are more inclined than ever to get their quarterback out of a bottlenecked group of passers at No. 40 in the second round," King adds.
Source: The MMQB
Mon, May 5, 2014 10:28:00 AM

ESPN Raiders' reporter Paul Gutierrez notes that, while the Raiders have interest in Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald, he believes the No.5 spot may be too high for Donald.

"No. 5 might be too rich for the Raiders' blood, but if they are able to trade back a few spots and Donald is still there, it would not shock me at all to see the Raiders strike," Gutierrez wrote. If Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, and Watkins are all off the table, the Raiders could either go quarterback or look Mike Evans way. If they get an offer to trade down and still are in shape to land Donald, it would be a win-win for the silver and black.
Sat, May 3, 2014 08:05:00 PM

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald's coaches call him "the best practice player they have ever been around," reports ESPN's Todd McShay.

That's a valuable anecdote, and here's a valuable stat that backs it up: According to ESPN, Donald played the highest snap percentage amongst every defensive linemen in the 2014 draft class. He's the anti Ra'Shede Hageman, basically. "Donald is an exceptional competitor to go along with his elite first-step quickness and finishing ability," McShay wrote. "He figures to be off the board in the first 15 picks."
Sat, Apr 26, 2014 09:07:00 PM

Draft insider Tony Pauline believes Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald "could be selected as early as the 6th pick or as late as the 16th choice."

The Falcons, of course, currently sit at No. 6. According to Pauline, if Atlanta is unable to trade up, and if the QBs fall and the elite OTs and pass rushers come off the board in the top 5, the Falcons could tab Donald as a contingency plan. If Donald falls out of the top 10, he'll draw strong interest from the Giants at No. 12 and the Bears at No. 14. "If Donald somehow lasts to the 16th pick it will be manna from heaven for the Dallas Cowboys," Pauline wrote. "I was told weeks ago Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli expressed to Donald the desire to draft him during combine interviews."
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 02:25:00 AM's Ian Rapoport reports that and AFC executive called Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald the "best D-lineman coming out in the last 10 years."

"Had an AFC executive call Aaron Donald the "best D-lineman coming out in the last 10 years." Buzz is real. Comparative player? John Randle," Rapoport tweeted. Anytime a defensive lineman gets compared to John Randle people tend to listen. However, anyone paying attention in the last couple of months will know that Donald has put on quite the show. Donald's performance at the Senior Bowl, Combine, and Pro Day, match everything that evaluators are seeing on tape. While his size may cause concern, his ability to produce should put interested teams at ease. Donald could possibly even crack the top 10, our own Josh Norris has Donald going to the Raiders at No. 5 in his latest mock draft.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 10:06:00 PM

The Cowboys are hosting Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald for a visit on Monday.

The marriage would be a great one, but we highly doubt Donald lasts until pick No. 16. Interior disruption can completely shape the success of a defense, and Donald is explosive from both the three- and one-techniques. There is a legitimate chance Donald is selected in the top 10. Expect the Cowboys to put plenty of emphasis on their front four.
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 11:32:00 AM

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald drew mixed reviews from three anonymous NFL talent evaluators.

"I don’t know about this guy," a scouting director from an NFC team said. "You look at him, and he’s too small. But then you watch him and all he does is produce. I’m torn on him." An AFC executive called Donald a "good player" who will be productive if you are "able to live with his size." An NFC scout concluded: "He’s a real good pass rusher. He doesn’t kill you in the run game, but you don’t want him out there all the time."
Sun, Apr 13, 2014 10:09:00 PM

NFL Films' Greg Cosell said "one can make the argument" that Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald is a Bengals DT Geno Atkins "light type player."

Cosell is starting to use courtroom diction on us. "Teams that are true 3-4s probably don't see a place for Aaron Donald because he's a 4-3, 3-technique DT, he's a penetrator, he's a terrific pass rusher from that position, that's what he is," Cosell said. Donald won't fall below the Bears at the No. 14 slot.
Thu, Apr 10, 2014 06:18:00 PM

ESPN's Todd McShay said there would be "panic" in the Bears' war room if Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald is selected before their No. 14 slot.

McShay thinks that Chicago would probably tab a safety or look to trade down if Donald is off the board, as the DT drop-off is sharp thereafter. In that scenario, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be a good fit, according the analyst. In May, look for Chicago to invest heavily in defense.
Wed, Apr 2, 2014 10:15:00 PM

Draft insider Tony Pauline lists Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald as his top-ranked DT.

Joining Donald with a first-round grade is Notre Dame's Louis Nix and Florida State's Timmy Jernigan, while Minnesota's Ra’Shede Hageman gets a fringe Rd. 1-2 ranking. Pauline sees Arizona State's Will Sutton going in the second round, with Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt another possibility in that stanza.
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 09:01:00 PM

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald jumped five spots -- from No. 21 to 16 -- on Mel Kiper's Big Board.

Very few draft prospects have survived the long winter without taking on heavy criticism -- some of which is no more than bad-intentioned nitpicking -- but Donald is one of them. This month alone, respected draft analysts Bucky Brooks and Greg Cosell both compared him to Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins. "No player has jumped as much during the postseason," Kiper wrote of Donald. "He led the country in tackles for loss, then went to Mobile and was a star at the Senior Bowl against very good competition; then he went to Indy and ran 4.65 in the 40 at 285 pounds, and also threw in 35 reps in the bench press for good measure. And the combine totals, athleticism and power match up perfectly with how he played in 2013, with a blend of quickness and power to run through and around blocks, creating constant problems for offenses. Now, he's a likely mid-first round pick."
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 04:00:00 PM's Bucky Brooks was "not surprised" that the NFL Insight computer program listed Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins as a comparable for Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald.

Atkins was about a half-inch taller and eight pounds heavier than Donald when he was tested, but was easily defeated by Donald in the forty (4.85 to 4.68), the 10-yard split (1.75 to 1.59) and the bench (34 reps to 35). "Atkins is regarded as the quickest and most explosive defender currently in the NFL, so the fact that Donald clocks a faster 10-yard split time suggests that he could be nightmare to block at the point of attack," wrote Brooks. "While I'm not ready to anoint him as a superior prospect to Atkins at this time, I definitely believe he has the tools to be a great one at the next level." The Donald/Atkins comparison is becoming trendy in NFL circles. NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell, in fact, made it just last week.
Tue, Mar 11, 2014 05:26:00 PM