Steelers’ Ola Adeniyi does best impression of Rams star Aaron Donald in practice
The Pittsburgh Steelers took an unorthodox method to prepare for two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald in practicing for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi acted as Donald on the scout-team defense in practice Thursday, sliding up and down the defensive line to simulate the quickness of the Rams defensive tackle.
“He’s a little lighter, not as big, obviously, but very quick,” Fichtner said. “We used different guys in different spots but it’s hard because he goes everywhere. They can put him in a lot of different places. They do a nice job of giving him opportunities to be one on one, to game with people and things like that.”
Adeniyi is about 40 pounds lighter than the 6-foot, 285-pound Donald, a former Penn Hills star and Pitt All-American. An edge rusher who has never played as a down lineman, Adeniyi did his best to give the Steelers offense a push in practice.
“There’s no emulating a guy who’s that good,” Adeniyi said. “You’ve just got to do your best. Just use my quickness to my advantage, like him. He’s a pretty quick dude for his size.
“They moved me around — inside, outside — just trying to give a good look. He’s a pretty built dude. He has that quickness in him and he’s strong, and he uses that to his advantage and makes it work for him.”
That Donald is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro who led the NFL with 20½ sacks last season is an inspiration to undersized overachievers like Adeniyi, who don’t fit the NFL prototypes but believe they can be productive players.
“That gives a lot of undersized guys a lot of hope,” Adeniyi said, “because you get told, ‘Awe, he’s too small. He can’t do this.’ But you see somebody that you look like and doing that at a beast of a level, it gives you confidence to just try to do your best and, hopefully, it works out for you.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .