Pitt defensive lineman Aaron Donald is getting ready for the NFL Draft and if the high praise some of his opponents have heaped on him is accurate, he could walk away as a very high pick.
Sports Illustrated put together a survey at the NFL Combine, interviewing some of college football's offensive linemen. The question? Who was the toughest opponent they've faced. Safe to say Aaron Donald's name came up quite a bit:
C Tyler Larsen, Utah: "I would say … in the Senior Bowl, I went up against [Pitt defensive tackle] Aaron Donald. He’s a great DT. He has that strength and quickness off the ball. I would say him, by far."
C Weston Richburg, Colorado State: "Aaron Donald at the Senior Bowl. It was only for a couple of days, but he’s a really good player. He may be smaller than a normal guy [at his position], but he’s very fast. I think he’s got a lot of good things ahead of him. He’s maybe closer to me than he is to a guard, so he’s going to try and get my edge really quick. It’s really important for me to try and get back, and get my hands on him. That’s something I was faced with, facing him."
G/T Zack Martin, Notre Dame: "[Pittsburgh's] Aaron Donald, we saw each other the last couple years. I’m not surprised that he would be able to make the jump."
Donald tied Jadeveon Clowney for first place with three total mentions.
A lot of that just sounds so familiar, right? Strong, quick, even fast. Donald just has a high motor and found ways to overcome the size limitation.
That's a limited sample size obviously, but to have so many players speak so highly of him having only encountered him in limited stretches is pretty impressive. Donald will need to impress scouts and general managers, but when it comes to the players, it sounds as if they're already convinced that he's a star.