Undersized defensive lineman Aaron Donald dominated Senior Bowl practices

The Baltimore Sun

MOBILE, Ala. -- In a display of movement, leverage and explosiveness, Pittsburgh All-American defensive tackle Aaron Donald dominated offensive linemen all week at the Senior Bowl.

Donald relentlessly chased down quarterbacks and running backs and flattened blockers, knocking them to the ground repeatedly.

With a quick, powerful first step, Donald burst past Notre Dame offensive tackle Zach Martin and Baylor offensive guard Cyril Richardson. Both are projected first-round draft picks.

All Donald lacks as an NFL prospect is ideal height at 6-foot-1, 290 pounds.

He playfully turned his back and walked away when a reporter asked him about his stature.

“I got leverage, I got the quickness,I got the power," Donald said. "I can hold 600 pounds on a double team, I can shed blocks. I can do everything the others can do. I just come with a plus because I got the leverage. It is what it is. I can't get no taller, but I can just keep playing hard and getting better."

Donald was practically unblockable last season when he became the first consensus All-American defensive player for Pitt since legendary defensive end Hugh Green in 1980.

He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award and the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, he recorded 59 tackles, 28 for losses, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and a blocked extra point.

Against Georgia Tech, he had 11 solo tackles, six for losses, two forced fumbles and a sack.

Donald said scouts haven't asked him to bulk up.

In college, he played nose tackle and defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and three-technique in a 4-3 set.

Playing for the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff and being coached by former NFL player Bryan Cox on the North squad, Donald appears to be an ideal fit for their 4-3 scheme.

"I feel like I'm a 4-3 guy, I'm comfortable with it," said Donald, who met with the Ravens this week. "I feel like I'm a three-technique. I want to show them I'm not just a third-down player.

"I feel like I'm an every-down player. I can stop the run, stop the double team and rush the passer. I'm a hard-working player who likes to compete."


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