Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive linesman Steve Elmer (79) blocks against Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. PITT won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Profile: Aaron Donald, DT Pittsburgh


They don’t make many defensive tackles like Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald.

Donald may be a bit smaller than some NFL teams look for in a DT, but he has proven to be a force when it comes to disrupting things in the backfield.  He stands only 6’1″ and weighs 288 pounds, but can play a lot bigger than that.  This is accomplished by him having a low center of gravity and being able to get leverage to push offensive linemen out of the way and then get around them with a beautiful swim move.

He was very impressive during practices and interviews at the Senior Bowl and there is little doubt that he will be able to continue to impress at this year’s combine.  If Donald was a bit taller and bigger, he would most likely be in consideration for one of the top spots in this year’s draft.

Here are his statistics over four years at Pittsburgh:

  • 115 solo tackles

    Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) reacts after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Heinz Field. PITT won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

  • 181 total tackles
  • 66 tackles for a loss
  • 29.5 sacks
  • 11 passes defended
  • 6 forced fumbles

Strengths

  •  Unbelievably fast off the snap
  • Gets leverage easily
  • Excellent swim move

Weaknesses

  • Small for an NFL defensive tackle
  • Short arms

Fit For The Vikings

Minnesota is looking for a defensive tackle to start along side Sharrif Floyd, but is most likely looking for a larger body to plug up lanes.

My Take

A team with a need for a pass rushing defensive tackle would be more likely to pick Donald than the Vikings.  He should not be considered for the #8 overall pick, but should definitely be heavily considered if still on the board at #40.

Tags: Aaron Donald Minnesota Vikings Sharrif Floyd