Aaron Donald   DT/DE   Pittsburgh

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Aaron plays football like a Category 4 hurricane that causes extreme structural damage. He’s quick in the box and his ability to damage an offensive line reminds me of Warren Sapp. He is quick, strong and relentless. He has good balance and solid lateral agility; his effort to change the line of scrimmage on every play is remarkable. Aaron’s hand techniques when rushing the passer are outstanding and more mature than most coming out in a draft. He is stout against the run and has enough lateral agility and strength to string out plays wide and hold the line of scrimmage. Aaron is a leader through his play on the field and on passing downs will either be in a quarterback’s face all day or flush him from the pocket. He is a disrupter and has solid change of direction skills to make the sack in the backfield. Aaron handles the double team with excellent technique and pride. He can split the double team on passing downs or stuff it on running downs. Aaron can play multiple positions on your defensive line in multiple formations and be effective in a 1-gap or 2-gap defense. On passing downs he can handle the nose tackle position and be very effective one-on-one with the center. Aaron will be an impact defensive lineman for the team that selects him and a core player for the coaching staff to build their pass rushing defense around. Because of Aaron’s unique “in the box” quickness, powerful explosion off the line, solid lateral agility, good foot speed and relentless play that allows him to make impact plays in the 4th quarter of a game, I have no doubt of his ability to impact at the next level. However, others may not share this opinion.

CONCERNS
Teams that are into the measurements of a player rather than HOW a player plays the game won’t even think about drafting Aaron. He will not be tall enough and his arms will not be long enough. It’s true Aaron is not going to shed and make many tackles in the hole when he is double teamed, but he will disrupt the blocking assignments enough for his teammates to make that play. It’s true he might not make a lot of sacks, but he will disrupt the rhythm of the passing play so his teammates can make a play. It’s true that most will think that he is not big enough to impact at the next level except the team that selects him.

BOTTOM LINE
Anyone who has been involved in a Category 4 hurricane understands how steady, relentless and continuous those winds are until the damage is done. Aaron is continuous, relentless, and just keeps pounding away at the offensive line until he does the same structural damage a Category 4 hurricane does to your house. Just when you think you have him under control and he might be calming down, Hurricane Aaron comes at you with just a little bit more power, quickness and force and rips though your backfield to complete the structural damage to your offense and make an impact play. He will make a quarterback scream “Can’t anyone block this guy?” in the huddle at the offensive linemen. Aaron has remarkable mental stamina. Aaron is a package of thunder in the middle of a hurricane and a force to be reckoned with for every offensive coordinator. You can use him on the inside or the outside on your defensive line. You can use him in a 4-3 defenses or 3-4 defense, in a 1-gap or 2-gap system. You can use him on the nose on passing downs. Hurricane Aaron will have to be accounted for or he will cause structural damage to your offense…you catch my drift? That’s the weather report for today.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2014