The signing of defensive tackle Henry Melton helps fill the gaping hole in the middle of Dallas' defensive line but the Cowboys may want insurance that his surgically-repaired knee will hold up. Donald is a terrific fit in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme and comes with the full trophy closet that Jerry Jones appreciates, as well.
With Nick Fairley expected to hit free agency after the 2014 season, the Lions could try and stay a step ahead of the game by drafting Donald here, similar to a year ago when they drafted DE Ziggy Ansah in the first round.
Some believe they need a bigger, stout guy to clog up the middle. Get one in a later round because there are a number of third-day wide bodies. Donald is an elite pass rusher and one gap penetrator with almost 100 plays made behind the line of scrimmage.
STRENGTHS: Comes off the snap like he's shot out of a cannon. His first step routinely beats opponents for immediate pressures. Has an effective arm-over swim move, though he doesn't use this often enough. His stature gives Donald the leverage advantage which he uses well to get under the pads of opponents and drive them into the backfield on bull-rushes.
WEAKNESSES: As with most undersized pass-rushers, when Donald's burst is contained his short arms limit his effectiveness. Donald keeps his legs churning and plays with effort, but he can get caught up in the hand-to-hand combat.
Considering that he's leading the country in sacks (1.6 per game) and tackles for loss (2.4), Donald might just be the most under-appreciated NFL prospect in college football. Sure, he isn't as big as most defensive linemen, but as he demonstrated with two sacks and three tackles for loss vs. Virginia Tech and big, mobile quarterback Logan Thomas, what a stick of dynamite may lack for in size can be made up with explosiveness. (10/18/13)
02/27/2014 - 2014 NFL COMBINE: 10 TAKEAWAYS FROM INDIANAPOLIS: 5. Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald stole Clowney's spotlight, dazzling during combine drills the same way he did throughout the 2013 season. Thought to be undersized at 6-0, 285 at Pittsburgh, played big last season and is getting bigger in the post-season. His explosive power was obvious in games, were be blew up the line of scrimmage and led the nation with average sacks per game (1.6) and tackles for loss (2.4). On Monday, he showed why. He blasted through 40 yards in 4.68, had a 32-inch vertical and benched 225 pounds 35 times. This should validate that this mighty mite of an interior lineman -- think John Randle skill set -- could move up in the first round of the draft. - The Sports Xchange