2014 NFL Draft Targets: DT Aaron Donald, Pitt

Aaron-DonaldAlthough he is undersized (only 6’0”, 285lbs), Donald had a very productive career at Pitt. He totaled 47 tackles, 16.0 TFL and 11.0 sacks in 2011, 64 tackles, 18.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks in 2012, and 59 tackles, 28.5 TFL and 11.0 sacks in 2013. His first step is good, and he creates consistent pressure in the pocket by utilizing an extremely powerful bull rush. Donald can use his hands very effectively to knock an O-lineman of balance, and occasionally displays good swim and spin moves when he chooses to use them (not often enough). The biggest knock on Donald is his size; because he is smaller he isn’t able to wrap up running backs and quarterbacks like a taller DT could. This results in the occasional missed tackle, as is evident in the FSU game. Donald put together an excellent combine performance, running a 4.68 40 yard dash and benching 35 reps of 225 pounds. He was also one of the top performers for his position in the 3 Cone Drill (7.11 seconds), which is a drill the Patriots value highly. His outstanding workout, however, may have pushed him out of the Patriots range. But, if he falls, which is possible, expect the Patriots to jump on the opportunity to pair Vince Wilfork with a pass rushing DT.

Pro Comparison: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals