Leading up to this 2014 draft, questions persisted about Aaron Donald’s ability to transition into the NFL match within an undersized defensive tackle, which helped explain why he dropped to No. 13 overall.
Actually, those questions are cosmically laughable, as Donald has come to be the best defensive player in the league and possibly the best player in the NFL. View any cutup of Donald — like this one — and it’s comical how simple he destroys grown guys.
Those questions did not survive but a whisper. As soon as Donald put on pads, it was evident that he will be good.
Former teammate Chris Long, who had been in St. Louis for Donald’s first two seasons, also said it had been apparent from the start of training camp.
“I’d love to credit myself with being the first man to know he will be amazing,” Long jokingly told Gus Frerotte of the”Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “We used to joke his rookie camp that he was going to be in the Hall of Fame, but I kind of was not joking.”
Long called Donald”the best football player on the planet, in my opinion.”
Long noted that it isn’t just the physical attributes, speed, strength, agility, etc., that made Donald excellent, but the psychological acuity and push to be good are off the charts, too.
“I have never seen anyone work so hard, who had so much talent and play so violent and play with this kind of tenacity,” he explained. “This man would struggle you on the area at the drop of a hat, and I admire that about him, and outworks everybody.
“I’d be the last person in the movie room generally at the conclusion of camp, and I would go in there and watch tape after everybody was in your home. I started going in there and opening the door and turning the lights to find my pencil or notebook, and he had been in there every night.”
In five times, Donald has made five Pro Bowls, earned four first-team All-Pros and won back Defensive Player of the Year awards. He is the reigning NFL sacks leader and is on pace to one day be fitted for a golden coat.
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