In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2014 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting a different prospect each weekday leading up to the first day of the draft on May 8th.
We continue the series with a scouting report of Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald.
Name: Aaron Donald
Weight: 285 pounds
Position: Defensive Tackle
Although Aaron Donald put together an incredible career at Pittsburgh, highlighted by a standout senior season, for some reason the defensive tackle wasn’t getting the proper recognition he deserved.
All that changed with a dynamite performance at the Combine that backed up his impressive tape. Out of every prospect in attendance, his 35 reps were the third highest number on the bench press. Among all defensive linemen, including speed rushers, he ran the fifth fastest 40-yard dash (4.68).
Donald’s disruptive nature has some likening him to Geno Atkins and John Randle. He is a blur off the snap with his quick burst, often the first defensive lineman off the ball. Donald also is blessed with a low center of gravity that he uses to his advantage to gain great leverage. While some defensive tackles are two-down players who come off the field in passing situations, his bull-rush overpowers offensive linemen, allowing him to be an excellent pass rusher.
Putting all those tools together, Donald had a terrific 2013 campaign for the Pittsburgh Panthers. He notched a ridiculous 28.5 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks, and also posted 59 total tackles and four forced fumbles. As a result, he was a First Team All-American and First Team All-ACC selection, and won the Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), Outland Trophy (top interior lineman) and Bronko Nagurski Award (football writers’ top collegiate player). Over his entire career, he notched 181 tackles, 66.0 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.
The biggest knock against Donald is his frame. At 6-1, 285-pounds he is a tad undersized for the position. Still, you can’t deny his production on the field, and after testing well at the Combine, it’s easy to understand why Donald is rising up the charts.
40-yard Dash: 4.68
Bench Press: 35 reps
Vertical Jump: 32.0 inches
Broad Jump: 116.0 inches
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above do not represent the opinions or policies of the San Diego Chargers’ front office staff, coaches or executives.