Hoge’s Bears Big Board: No. 2 DT Aaron Donald
By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Hand: 9 7/8
Arm: 32 5/8
College Career: Donald finished off his four-year career at Pitt as arguably the best defensive player in college football last season. He won the Bronko Nagurski Award (most outstanding defensive player), Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), Outland Trophy (best offensive or defensive lineman) and Rotary Lombari Award (nation’s most outstanding lineman or linebacker). Led the country with 28.5 TFLs, including six in one game against Georgia Tech. Also had 11 sacks.
Strengths: Extremely quick off the line. Slippery. Uses shorter height to his advantage by staying low and gaining leverage. Good chase speed once he gets into the backfield. Showed off his speed and strength at the Combine by running a freakish 4.68 40-yard dash, 7.11 3-cone and lifting 35 times on the bench press. Has experience in both a 3-4 and 4-3. Team captain who will become a quick leader in any locker room he ends up in.
Weaknesses: Undersized frame leads to fair questions about whether or not his production will translate to the next level. Neutralized by double-teams. Will need help around him. Limited to a one-gap scheme. Not very productive against the run.
Bears Outlook: There are a couple different ways to look at the Bears’ moves in free agency. One way is to see GM Phil Emery’s additions to the defensive line as a sign that he’ll address the secondary in the draft. Another way is see the pass rush as Emery’s biggest priority and an area he still wants to improve. The reality is that the Bears still need to add a young, quality defensive tackle to the depth chart and Aaron Donald would be a nice addition. He’s best suited as a three-technique, but held his own as a one-tech in Senior Bowl practices. The only knock on him is his size — otherwise, Donald checks every box. Labeled early as a second-rounder because of his size, Donald has dominated every step of the pre-draft process and has the game film to fall back on as well. He’s a sure first-rounder who would be worthy of the 14th-overall pick.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.