Leading up to this 2014 draft, questions persisted about Aaron Donald’s ability to transition to the NFL game within an undersized defensive tackle, which helped explain why he dropped to No. 13 overall.
Actually, those questions are cosmically foolish, as Donald has become the best defensive player in the league and arguably the best player in the NFL. View any cutup of Donald — like this one — and it’s comical how easy he destroys grown guys.
Those questions did not last but a whisper. When Donald put on pads, it was evident that he was going to be great.
Former teammate Chris Long, who was in St. Louis for Donald’s first two seasons, said it was apparent from the beginning of training camp.
“I’d love to credit myself with being the first man to know he was going to be amazing,” Long jokingly told Gus Frerotte of the”Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “We used to joke his rookie camp he was going to be in the Hall of Fame, but I kind of was not joking.”
Long called Donald”the best football player in the world, in my opinion.”
Long noted it isn’t just the physical characteristics, speed, endurance, endurance, etc., which made Donald excellent, but the psychological acuity and push to be good are off the charts, as well.
“I have never seen anyone work so hard, who had so much ability and perform so barbarous and perform with this kind of tenacity,” he said. “This guy would struggle you on the area at the drop of a hat, and I respect that about himand outworks everybody.
“I’d be the last person in the movie room generally at the end of camp, and I’d go in there and watch tape once everyone was at home. I started going in there and opening the door and turning the lights to find my pencil or laptop, and he had been in there every evening.”
In five seasons, Donald has made five Pro Bowls, made four first-team All-Pros and won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards. He is on pace to one day and is the reigning NFL sacks leader be fitted to get a jacket.
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