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LawFitz

The Best Player in the 2014 NFL Draft

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He's not who you might think. He's not Clowny, Mack, Watkins or Robinson. He's not Matthews, and he most certainly isn't Blake effing Bortles. The best player in this year's draft is an undersized DT named Aaron Donald.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3YKvx6LcBs

AD will be a force at the next level at either 3-tech or 5-tech. Where he lacks in size (6'0'' 285) he makes up for with strength, leverage, quickness, technique and instinct. It's ridiculous that this guy likely won't go in the top ten. Someone is going to get a steal in the mid-to-late first round with AD. Health permitting, he's got many pro bowls ahead. He will be a top-five NFL 3- or 5-tech within three years.

:IMHO:

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

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Wouldn't surprise me if he ended up becoming one of the top 3 players in this draft when all is said and done. Guy is a beast of a player and athlete.

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Really wanted Donald for da Bears, but it seems that ship has sailed. Can't see Chicago trading up when they need quality secondary help as well.

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

I'm sorry dude you're awesome but WAT! Go back and watch Donalds tape please. He is in the backfield every play. He uses speed, power, technique. He has it all. He's an inch short (that's it) but his arms are plenty long enough. His height did not stop him from being elite on the field this year either. I agree Clowney is the most valuable prospect in this draft and I also agree it's not really close but it's because of the position Clowney plays. Aaron Donald is special. Best DT I've seen in a while.

Edited by Milkman

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

I'm sorry dude you're awesome but WAT! Go back and watch Donalds tape please. He is in the backfield every play. He uses speed, power, technique. He has it all. He's an inch short (that's it) but his arms are plenty long enough. His height did not stop him from being elite on the field this year either. I agree Clowney is the most valuable prospect in this draft and I also agree it's not really close but it's because of the position Clowney plays. Aaron Donald is special. Best DT I've seen in a while.

Anyone who thinks Jernigan is better needs their head examined.

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO

There's no sure thing. Ever. Perhaps best prospect, but we are a long way away from being able to determine "best player".

In 2009 I watched my Seahawks select LB Aaron Curry with the fourth overall pick. Every pundit (and I mean every) said the exact same thing with regard to Curry. He was the safest pick. He was the most sure pick. Solid starter for a long time in the absolute worst scenario. Curry isn't even in the league anymore.

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

I'm sorry dude you're awesome but WAT! Go back and watch Donalds tape please. He is in the backfield every play. He uses speed, power, technique. He has it all. He's an inch short (that's it) but his arms are plenty long enough. His height did not stop him from being elite on the field this year either. I agree Clowney is the most valuable prospect in this draft and I also agree it's not really close but it's because of the position Clowney plays. Aaron Donald is special. Best DT I've seen in a while.

Anyone who thinks Jernigan is better needs their head examined.
Well I'm married to a psychologist so I've got that covered.

I've watched a lot of both guys film like him better. :shrug:

Edited by jurb26

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

I'm sorry dude you're awesome but WAT! Go back and watch Donalds tape please. He is in the backfield every play. He uses speed, power, technique. He has it all. He's an inch short (that's it) but his arms are plenty long enough. His height did not stop him from being elite on the field this year either. I agree Clowney is the most valuable prospect in this draft and I also agree it's not really close but it's because of the position Clowney plays. Aaron Donald is special. Best DT I've seen in a while.

Anyone who thinks Jernigan is better needs their head examined.
Well I'm married to a psychologist so I've got that covered.

I've watched a lot of both guys film like him better. :shrug:

Aside from Donald being amazing, Jernigan isn't even that great. You can't watch the two if then play and think that.

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

I'm sorry dude you're awesome but WAT! Go back and watch Donalds tape please. He is in the backfield every play. He uses speed, power, technique. He has it all. He's an inch short (that's it) but his arms are plenty long enough. His height did not stop him from being elite on the field this year either. I agree Clowney is the most valuable prospect in this draft and I also agree it's not really close but it's because of the position Clowney plays. Aaron Donald is special. Best DT I've seen in a while.

Anyone who thinks Jernigan is better needs their head examined.
Well I'm married to a psychologist so I've got that covered.

I've watched a lot of both guys film like him better. :shrug:

Aside from Donald being amazing, Jernigan isn't even that great. You can't watch the two if then play and think that.
Odd then that after and during the season, when actual games are played Jernigan was considered better. Not until offseason workouts was Donsld great.

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Rotoworld:

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.
" Apr 25 - 2:25 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."
Apr 13 - 10:09 PM
Source: NJ.com

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.

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.

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."
Mar 20 - 4:00 PM

NFL.com'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.
Source: NFL.com

NFL Films' Greg Cosell compared Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald to Bengals DT Geno Atkins.

"He's a quick, penetrating, gap player," said Cosell, who cautioned that teams need to understand what Donald can and can't bring to the table before they draft him. "He's not a guy that's going to take on double teams," Cosell said. Although Donald's frame won't allow for that, he's a pocket collapsing DT. He is also NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock's top-ranked DT prospect.
Mar 6 - 7:56 PM

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald believes that his "experience at every position" paired with his speed is a "plus" for him.

"I have experience at every position," Donald said. "I played nose tackle, I played [three-technique defensive tackle], I played defensive end, I played in a 3-4 with Coach Todd Graham at a five-tech (in 2011), so I have experience at every position. I think that's a plus for me." Donald added, "A lot of teams talked about (how) when I ran that 4.6 (40-yard dash at the Combine), it opened up a lot of eyes as far as 'this guy might be able to do this or do that.' Aaron Donald's stock is continuing to rise and his strong performance at the Senior Bowl, Combine, and Pro Day line up with what evaluators are seeing on tape.
Mar 5 - 11:10 AM

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald surged 16 spots -- from No. 30 to 14 -- in Daniel Jeremiah's most recent prospect rankings.

Donald, who collected 28.5 sacks and 64 TFL during his Pittsburgh career, won just about every award a defensive tackle can win last season. He's only increased his stock since the season ended, dominating postseason exhibitions, putting on a show at the NFL Combine, and wowing scouts at Monday's pro day. "Against the run, he shocks defenders with his punch and is able to separate from blocks to pick up tackles," wrote Jeremiah. "He has the foot quickness to split double teams and does a nice job of flattening to the ball carrier on perimeter runs. As a pass rusher, he has a variety of moves and hit the quarterback multiple times in every game I viewed."
Source: NFL.com

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald had the best combine performance of any defensive lineman, according to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman.

"I saw people make comparisons to Geno Atkins and Hall of Famer John Randle. That's impressive company," wrote Feldman. The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald clocked a 4.68 official forty, had his Stretch Armstrong arms measure in at 32 5/8 inches, and somehow threw up 35 reps on the bench anyway. "The guy is [an] absolute beast," one NFL scout said. "He's relentless. I would've hated to play against this guy."
Source: CBS Sports
Feb 27 - 8:49 PM

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Rotoworld:

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald "has explosiveness in his hands and the burst to accelerate around or through offensive blockers," said Executive Director of the Senior Bowl Phil Savage.

Donald is coming off an absolutely dominant season (64 tackles, 18.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks) in which he won just about every award he could have (Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski and Outland). He also tore through the Senior Bowl, recording a +6.8 rating during the exhibition despite playing only 33 snaps. "Yes, he is undersized by NFL standards, however, he has explosiveness in his hands and the burst to accelerate around or through offensive blockers," Senior Bowl Direction Phil Savage said. "Front-side blocks can be problematic due to his overall girth, but when he attacks with his hands on the inside, he can separate and make tackles. On the back-side of blocks, he simply is too athletic to be cut off and will track down ball carriers down the line-of-scrimmage. His pass rush technique is outstanding and he should be able to contribute on Sub downs immediately as a rookie."
Feb 5 - 5:29 PM

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The best player is Clowney and it's really not that close IMO. I actual still like Jernigan as the best 4-3 DT in this draft over Donald.

I'm sorry dude you're awesome but WAT! Go back and watch Donalds tape please. He is in the backfield every play. He uses speed, power, technique. He has it all. He's an inch short (that's it) but his arms are plenty long enough. His height did not stop him from being elite on the field this year either. I agree Clowney is the most valuable prospect in this draft and I also agree it's not really close but it's because of the position Clowney plays. Aaron Donald is special. Best DT I've seen in a while.

Anyone who thinks Jernigan is better needs their head examined.
Well I'm married to a psychologist so I've got that covered.

I've watched a lot of both guys film like him better. :shrug:

Aside from Donald being amazing, Jernigan isn't even that great. You can't watch the two if then play and think that.
Odd then that after and during the season, when actual games are played Jernigan was considered better. Not until offseason workouts was Donsld great.
Because he didnt play for a National Championship team most likely.

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Rotoworld:

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."

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Rotoworld:

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."

Practice?

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While it is unlikely to happen, Donald, I hope will somehow find his way to Dallas. He's exactly the kind of player the Cowboys need. I think they'll have to move into the top 10 to secure his services.

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Aaron Donald's NFL fits include New York Giants, Chicago Bears

By Bucky Brooks

NFL Media analyst

When I played defensive back for the Green Bay Packers in the mid-1990s, my defensive coordinator -- the late Fritz Shurmur -- always stressed the D-line's impact on the rest of the defense. He frequently urged front-line guys to play on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage because penetration absolutely destroys the timing of the passing game and forces ball carriers to stop in their tracks. The offense simply cannot string together positive plays if the defensive line owns the point of attack.

Of course, it's easy to own the point of attack when you have a D-line of Reggie White, Santana Dotson, Gilbert Brown and Sean Jones. Each guy flashed outstanding strength, power and snap-count anticipation, in addition to excellent hand skills and reactions while fighting through blocks at the line of scrimmage. As a result, the 1996 Packers rode the NFL's top-ranked defense to a Super Bowl title, wreaking havoc on opponents with a punishing style up front.

Given the impact of Shurmur's words and my observations of that talented foursome at work, I expect blue-chip defensive linemen to exhibit a level of dominance and disruption that stands out on tape. This is definitely the case when you go to the film on Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald.

Donald, who racked up a whole bunch of hardware for his efforts in 2013 (Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award), was the most dominant college defender that I watched last fall. He routinely pitched a tent in the opponent's backfield, displaying exceptional quickness, burst and snap-count anticipation. And despite diminutive stature for a defensive tackle (6-foot-1, 285 pounds), Donald showcased the ability to play with leverage by frequently holding the point against double teams. He controlled the middle of the line against the run, and allowed his teammates to run-and-chase without obstruction.

Now, I must admit that I initially questioned if Donald would be able to impose his will on blockers at the next level, but those concerns were allayed when I watched him dominate the competition at the Senior Bowl. He was unstoppable in one-on-one and team drills against elite competition, showcasing a game that is ideally suited for the 3-technique position in a Tampa 2 defense. With proponents of that scheme craving defensive tackles with the speed, athleticism and initial quickness to blow up blocking schemes, it's no wonder Donald has shot up draft boards over the past few months.

Given the buzz building around Donald, I thought it would be a good time to identify five NFL team fits (with first-round draft slots listed as a reference point):

Detroit Lions (No. 10 overall pick)

Adding Donald to a lineup that already features Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley? On the surface, it doesn't seem like a logical fit, but A) Suh is entering the last year of his rookie contract (while the Lions have expressed a desire to keep him around for the long haul, until pen hits paper ...); and B) GM Martin Mayhew publicly stated that Detroit will not be picking up the fifth-year option in Fairley's rookie deal. That latter point is noteworthy when considering the potential addition of Donald, who is an effective penetrator with a non-stop motor and relentless spirit. His presence would put pressure on Fairley to finally play up to expectations after teasing Lions officials for years with his immense raw talent. Factor in the potential to wear down opponents with a three-man rotation on the interior, and Mayhew could seriously consider making a radical move on draft day.

New York Giants (No. 12)

The Giants' defensive line has lost some of the spunk that made the unit one of the best in the business for years. While the notable departure of Justin Tuck has led many to focus on the edges, it is the loss of Linval Joseph that could prompt GM Jerry Reese to expend a top pick on an interior D-lineman. The Giants desperately need a disruptive playmaker in the middle; Donald certainly qualifies with his explosive quickness and athleticism. (The guy blazed a 4.68 40-yard dash at 285 pounds during the NFL Scouting Combine.) Donald would give the G-Men a young interior rusher to feature on exotic stunts and games in nickel downs. Reese clearly understands the importance of getting after the passer in the NFL, so Donald could be squarely in the Giants' crosshairs next month.

Chicago Bears (No. 14)

After suffering through one of the worst defensive campaigns in franchise history, the Bears are on a mission to get back on track by revamping the defensive line. This became evident in free agency, as Chicago shelled out a heap of cash on defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. Those additions definitely beef up a pass rush that posted a league-low 31 sacks in 2013, but the Bears still need an active presence on the inside to maximize Mel Tucker's scheme. Donald is an ideal fit for the 3-technique position, and offers the disruptive ability that the team missed a season ago, when injuries ravaged the middle of the defense.

Dallas Cowboys (No. 16)

Rod Marinelli takes over for Monte Kiffin as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator, but the team's Tampa 2 scheme will remain the same. Thus, the Cowboys need to identify an active 3-tech to anchor the defensive line. While Henry Melton is the Cowboys' marquee free-agent acquisition, Dallas was able to sign him on what essentially amounts to a one-year "prove it" deal because he's coming off a season-ending ACL injury. Given the uncertainty there, Jerry Jones could target Donald as the explosive defender to build the defense around. Donald is capable of creating the kind of chaos the Cowboys' defense needs in order to contain the high-powered offenses in the NFC East.

Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24)

Marvin Lewis already has one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the game (Geno Atkins), but that wouldn't necessarily prevent him from taking another special talent if the opportunity were to present itself. First of all, Atkins is returning from a serious knee injury. Furthermore, while Atkins and Donald seemingly fill the same role in a 4-3 scheme, the ability to designate each as a right or left defensive tackle would prevent opponents from crafting blocking schemes specifically designed to neutralize Atkins. Additionally, the Bengals could seamlessly flip-flop Atkins and Donald between the 1- and 3-technique spots to create even more confusion at the point of attack. If Lewis subscribes to the theory of enhancing his team's strengths, Donald should look very appealing.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Edited by Faust

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Rotoworld:

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah is "hearing" the Vikings are eyeing Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald at No. 8.

SI's Peter King passed along similar sentiments Monday morning. Per King, the Vikings are in search of a "front-seven disruptor." Donald certainly fits the bill, but may not fall to No. 8.
Related: Vikings

SI's Peter King says the Vikings want a front-seven disruptor at No. 8 overall.

King says the Vikes "are more inclined than ever" to get a quarterback in the second round, not with their top pick. He suggests Aaron Donald as a target at No. 8 and in terms of disruption from the interior, they couldn't do better. Donald, who has drawn some Geno Atkins comparisons, had 11 sacks, 28.5 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and three batted passes as a senior at Pitt.
Related: Vikings
Source: SI.com

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McShay/Kiper draft special last week had Donald dropping into the Giants lap at #12..

I don't see it happening due to the hype he's been getting the past couple weeks, but I'd love to see it.

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Bucs board is all over Donald...and Bill Polian has mocked him there at #7.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva

Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html …

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva

Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him. Edited by jurb26
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Clowney is without question the best player in this draft.

I guess there is a question or else LawFitz would not have posted.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva

Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him.

Corey Simon and Russell Maryland were the only DT's I found under 6-2 who made the Pro Bowl in the past 25 years. Donald is a shade under 6-1.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva

Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him.

Corey Simon and Russell Maryland were the only DT's I found under 6-2 who made the Pro Bowl in the past 25 years. Donald is a shade under 6-1.

Your search results are inaccurate.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva

Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him.

Corey Simon and Russell Maryland were the only DT's I found under 6-2 who made the Pro Bowl in the past 25 years. Donald is a shade under 6-1.

Your search results are inaccurate.

Please post your results. I did it by PFR and that's what I found.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him.
Corey Simon and Russell Maryland were the only DT's I found under 6-2 who made the Pro Bowl in the past 25 years. Donald is a shade under 6-1.

John Randle is listed at 6'1" 287 lbs.

Geno Atkins 6'1" 303 lbs. (288 lbs. at Senior Bowl, 293 lbs. at combine). Perhaps Donald adds 10 lbs. in a few years?

You are right, some other "undersized" DTs that came to mind were 6'2".

Warren Sapp 6'2" 300 lbs.

La'Roi Glover 6'2" 290 lbs.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him.
Corey Simon and Russell Maryland were the only DT's I found under 6-2 who made the Pro Bowl in the past 25 years. Donald is a shade under 6-1.

John Randle is listed at 6'1" 287 lbs.

Geno Atkins 6'1" 303 lbs. (288 lbs. at Senior Bowl, 293 lbs. at combine). Perhaps Donald adds 10 lbs. in a few years?

You are right, some other "undersized" DTs that came to mind were 6'2".

Warren Sapp 6'2" 300 lbs.

La'Roi Glover 6'2" 290 lbs.

Great comps.

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LOL at two inches of height making the difference in Donald getting the respect he deserves. Those two inches will have zero relevance in the end.

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva Anonymous scout on Aaron Donald: "I think the media created this guy. Makes plays, but our game is not built for him" http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/rating-the-nfl-draft-prospects-defensive-lineman-b99262356z1-258030211.html

Been thinking this all along as well. 280lb interior lineman is just too risky for me.
Yup, I've said this for a while. Donald is a nice player but incredibly overhyped. He's lucky that a lot of the teams in need of his skill set and scheme fit are in the top half of the draft. Like I've said, I'd still take Jernigan over him.
Corey Simon and Russell Maryland were the only DT's I found under 6-2 who made the Pro Bowl in the past 25 years. Donald is a shade under 6-1.
John Randle is listed at 6'1" 287 lbs.

Geno Atkins 6'1" 303 lbs. (288 lbs. at Senior Bowl, 293 lbs. at combine). Perhaps Donald adds 10 lbs. in a few years?

You are right, some other "undersized" DTs that came to mind were 6'2".

Warren Sapp 6'2" 300 lbs.

La'Roi Glover 6'2" 290 lbs.

Great comps.

He's been compared to Atkins, Randle and Glover.

Of course, it does beg the question, would a guy like Randle do as well against today's behemoths? I think because of his relentlessness, determination and intensity, yes.

Donald has a rare combo of power for his size and explosiveness. I'm in the camp that thinks he could be a future pro bowler and among the leading sack artists in the league at DT in a few years.

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The weight is more of an issue than the height. He could be giving up 20lbs plus in a lot of situations. And inside where he doesn't have much room to work, that could be a big issue.

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The weight is more of an issue than the height. He could be giving up 20lbs plus in a lot of situations. And inside where he doesn't have much room to work, that could be a big issue.

This is a big concern IMO. Donald doesn't seem to have a frame that would allow him to put on a lot of weight. He's bottom heavy with a near fully developed lower body. I don't know that he can get to much more than say, 290 without loosing functional speed. I could be wrong.

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The weight is more of an issue than the height. He could be giving up 20lbs plus in a lot of situations. And inside where he doesn't have much room to work, that could be a big issue.

This is a big concern IMO. Donald doesn't seem to have a frame that would allow him to put on a lot of weight. He's bottom heavy with a near fully developed lower body. I don't know that he can get to much more than say, 290 without loosing functional speed. I could be wrong.

You don't think a 22 year old 285 lber can gain more than 5 pounds without losing speed. Okay.

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The weight is more of an issue than the height. He could be giving up 20lbs plus in a lot of situations. And inside where he doesn't have much room to work, that could be a big issue.

This is a big concern IMO. Donald doesn't seem to have a frame that would allow him to put on a lot of weight. He's bottom heavy with a near fully developed lower body. I don't know that he can get to much more than say, 290 without loosing functional speed. I could be wrong.

You don't think a 22 year old 285 lber can gain more than 5 pounds without losing speed. Okay.

That's not really what I said but okay.

Where do you think he will specifically gain weight and what impact will it make on him?

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The weight is more of an issue than the height. He could be giving up 20lbs plus in a lot of situations. And inside where he doesn't have much room to work, that could be a big issue.

This is a big concern IMO. Donald doesn't seem to have a frame that would allow him to put on a lot of weight. He's bottom heavy with a near fully developed lower body. I don't know that he can get to much more than say, 290 without loosing functional speed. I could be wrong.

You don't think a 22 year old 285 lber can gain more than 5 pounds without losing speed. Okay.

That's not really what I said but okay.

Where do you think he will specifically gain weight and what impact will it make on him?

I think he will naturally gain 10-15 lbs, spread out through his upper and lower body over the next 2-5 years, via not only his entrance into a professional strength and conditioning program, but also because that's what human males generally do between the ages of 22-27. See Geno Atkins as a near identical example of this type of weight gain.

What impact will it have? Not a whole lot. He's already a beast; his continued physical maturation will only aid his dominance, not necessarily b/c of the added pounds, but because of increasing strength.

Top-5 3T (or 5T) within three years, health permitting. That's my prediction. Let's see how it goes.

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The weight is more of an issue than the height. He could be giving up 20lbs plus in a lot of situations. And inside where he doesn't have much room to work, that could be a big issue.

This is a big concern IMO. Donald doesn't seem to have a frame that would allow him to put on a lot of weight. He's bottom heavy with a near fully developed lower body. I don't know that he can get to much more than say, 290 without loosing functional speed. I could be wrong.

You don't think a 22 year old 285 lber can gain more than 5 pounds without losing speed. Okay.

That's not really what I said but okay.

Where do you think he will specifically gain weight and what impact will it make on him?

I think he will naturally gain 10-15 lbs, spread out through his upper and lower body over the next 2-5 years, via not only his entrance into a professional strength and conditioning program, but also because that's what human males generally do between the ages of 22-27. See Geno Atkins as a near identical example of this type of weight gain.

What impact will it have? Not a whole lot. He's already a beast; his continued physical maturation will only aid his dominance, not necessarily b/c of the added pounds, but because of increasing strength.

Top-5 3T (or 5T) within three years, health permitting. That's my prediction. Let's see how it goes.

You could be right. I still think it's going to be tough for him to gain that much weight. I didn't look at it until now but you have me second guessing myself so I looked at his draft profile. From it is this;

"WEAKNESSES Marginal height and frame is nearly maxed out. Hands are more active than strong -- could play with more pop and power. Overpowered in the run game and ground up by double teams. Gets snared and controlled by bigger, longer blockers. Not a two-gap player. Has some tweener traits -- lacks ideal length and bend to play outside."

So at least I'm not the only one who thinks his frame is pretty well developed. Seeing he is still so young anything could happen. We'll see.

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Rotoworld:

TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline reports coach Lovie Smith's "wish" is for the Bucs to draft Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald at No. 7 overall.

Pauline reports the Bucs ownership is "pushing for" Johnny Manziel instead. In Tampa, Donald could play the three-tecnhique spot and push Gerald McCoy to nose tackle, giving the Bucs four players capable of getting to the quarterback on the defensive line. No. 5 to Oakland is about as high we could see Donald going with his floor being No. 8 to the Vikings or No. 13 to the Rams.
Related: Buccaneers

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Rotoworld:

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.

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