All offseason long, Aaron Donald has seemingly drawn more and more interest from scouts and analysts alike.
His early NFL Combine numbers have done nothing to diminish the hype: the 6-foot-1, 285-pound defensive tackle ran a **4.68 40-yard dash and tallied 35 reps in the bench press drill on Monday. More importantly, according to Vaughn McClure at ESPN, Donald said Atlanta could be a suitable landing spot for him.
Donald got the chance to work closely with the Falcons coaching staff during the Senior Bowl, where he also turned in a fine performance, and he's clearly comfortable with the idea of playing for the team. Judging from McClure's update, part of that may have to do with newly hired defensive line coach Bryan Cox. At the very least, he'd already be familiar with the staff coming in as a rookie, and he'd be given the chance to earn significant snaps right away.
Donald may fit into the smaller mold of interior defensive linemen, but he put up some insane numbers as a senior at Pittsburgh (59 tackles, 28.5 TFLs, 11.0 sacks, 16 QB hurries and four forced fumbles). He possesses an excellent set of pass rushing skills, great quickness and strong technique. He's probably not going to get any bigger (hey, Jonathan Babineaux didn't need to), but many also believe he can contribute right away in the NFL.
There are a few mocks out there projecting Donald to go between the middle and the end of the first round. But if he falls to the early second, when the Falcons pick, I'd suspect the team gives him a hard look.
What do you all think of Donald?