Former Pitt defensive lineman Donald dominates NFL Combine
Jadeveon Clowney won the event. Aaron Donald won the day.
Clowney's freakish time of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash created the early-in-the-day buzz Monday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
It's the kind of speed defensive linemen simply aren't supposed to have.
By late afternoon, it was Donald who was the talk at Lucas Oil Stadium. According to NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, Donald's 4.68 time in the 40 was comparable to Clowney's because the 285-pound Donald outweighs Clowney by almost 20 pounds
Mayock said Donald's overall day, which included a strong performance in weightlifting and an excellent run in the three-cone drill, was as good as any defensive lineman has had at the combine in 10 years.
“A lot of people were asking me what I could put down ... what I told them was just to see on Monday,” Donald told the Tribune-Review after his workout. “So I felt I shocked the world with that.”
Donald's 40-yard dash time was sixth among the defensive linemen, but all those ahead of him were 20 to 50 pounds lighter. And his 35 continuous lifts of 225 pounds were second only to the 36 by Kaleb Ramsey (Laurel Highlands) of Boston College, and were 14 more than Clowney.
Clowney is predicted to go within the first five picks in the May 8 draft.
Donald's time of 7.11 seconds in the three-cone drill was the fourth-fastest among defensive linemen and was much faster than many of the linebackers. Donald also had a broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches and a vertical jump of 32 inches that is exceptional for his size.
“I feel like I was expected to do big things at the combine, and I accomplished that,” Donald said. “I feel like I did great overall. The position drills I feel like I did great on.
“ I was confident going into the combine. I did the same things I've been doing (while training) for five, seven weeks.”
Donald, who flew back to Pittsburgh on Monday night, met formally with “nine or 10 teams” and will meet with others, including the Steelers, after Pitt's March 3 pro day.
“A lot of guys out there liked me and liked my film and feel like I can make a difference, come in and make an impact right away,” Donald said. “The Cowboys seemed like they were very interested. (They have) a veteran like DeMarcus Ware. If I had the opportunity to play with him and to learn from him, the way they play their fronts, I feel like I'd fit in there just right.”
Donald won every postseason award possible for his position except the Heisman Trophy. But he has been projected to be a third-round pick because of a lack of height (he's 6-1) and somewhat short (32 5⁄8-inch) arms.
But Mayock said on the NFL Network that Donald is so disruptive it makes up for any physical limitations.
“It was a real busy week, but it was an amazing experience, a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Donald said. “I had the experience and the opportunity to talk to so many teams and get a feel for them, and have them get a feel for me. So it was great.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.