2014 Atlanta Falcons Potential Draft Pick Profile: DT Aaron Donald

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2014 Atlanta Falcons Potential Draft Pick Profile: DT Aaron Donald
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

When the Atlanta Falcons brought in Bryan Cox as the D-line coach, the first question was who he might fall in love with at the Senior Bowl. At this point, it looks like that guy is Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald—an undersized defensive tackle who posted high sack totals in college.

As you can see from Vaughn McClure's reports, Cox loves what Donald brings to the table. And Falcons fans should as well. He's very similar to Geno Atkins and Rod Coleman in how he could be used, and the Falcons should gladly take advantage of it if they can get him.

 

Aaron Donald

Defensive Tackle

University of Pittsburgh

6'0-7/8", 288 pounds

 

Stats

2013: 13 Games Played, 59 Tackles, 28.5 Tackles for Loss, 11.0 Sacks, 16 QB Hurries, 4 Fumbles Forced, 3 Pass Deflections, 1 Blocked Kick

2012: 12 Games Played, 64 Tackles, 18.5 Tackles for Loss, 5.5 Sacks, 11 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 2 Pass Deflections

2011: 13 Games Played, 47 Tackles, 16.0 Tackles for Loss, 11.0 Sacks, 11 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 4 Pass Deflections

2010: 13 Games Played, 11 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries, 2 Pass Deflections

 

Scouting Report

Strengths

Donald is an excellent penetrator who uses his quick first step off the ball and top-level athleticism to dominate the competition. He also plays with great leverage and hand usage. In addition to that, he shows excellent versatility and the ability to play in multiple schemes.

The Falcons could use him as an interior penetrator that they haven't had since Rod Coleman. Donald could play the 1-technique or 3-technique on passing plays but could slide out to the 5-technique—if neededon 3-4 plays.

 

Weaknesses

Donald doesn't have amazing size, and his strength could be improved. However, he has the frame to add some more weight. Outside of that, he has shorter arms than the standard defensive tackle in the NFL.

He gets washed out in the run game at times and has trouble handling double teams. However, the Falcons could help him improve his technique in those situations.

 

How does he fit the Comrade Filter?

Despite never being a team captain, Donald is known for being one of the toughest defensive linemen and hardest workers on the Pittsburgh roster. He's also extremely versatile and can play multiple roles in the Atlanta defense.

 

Overview

Donald would be a great fit for the Falcons both on and off the field. With Cox in the fold, players like Donald will be prioritized. He would be an excellent fit in the defense next to a re-signed Corey Peters or Jonathan Babineaux.

 

How he would fit into the Falcons' plans

If the Falcons want to bring in Donald, they will have to spend, at latest, their second-round pick on him. Donald would be an instant starter for the Falcons and could give them an interior pass rush that they have been missing.

 

All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPNCFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.

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