If the NFL Scouting Combine is the equivalent of the Underwear Olympics, then Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won a gold medal Monday in Indianapolis.
Donald, who is considered a bit undersized for a defensive tackle at nearly 6-foot-1 and weighing 285 pounds, ran a 4.68 40-yard dash on Monday with an unofficial 1.59 10-yard split. His 7.11 three-cone drill time was fourth-best among defensive linemen and his 32-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-8 broad jump were certainly respectable among the other defensive tackles. Donald also matched his speed with strength as he put up 225 pounds on the bench 35 times. That was second-best among all defensive linemen.
If you put any stock into numbers derived from the combine workouts, you might be interested to know that Donald posted a speed score of 118.82 on Monday. That score was third-best among all defensive linemen with only Jadeveon Clowney and DaQuan Jones besting him. You can read more about how speed scores are derived right here.
As far as his power and explosiveness goes, Donald post a KEI explosion score of 76.67 on Monday. That number is derived by taking the vertical jump, standing broad jump and the number of bench press reps and adding them together. It’s a basic formula that former New York Jets front office member Pat Kirwan has used for years to measure the explosiveness of a player. Kirwan believes an explosion score of 70 or more is exceptional.
Donald also has a good change of direction and showed off his lateral agility Monday with his 4.39 20-yard shuttle time and previously mentioned 7.11 three-cone time. He is as well-rounded athletically as they come for a player of his size and build.
More than anything else on Monday, Donald, the 2013 winner of the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award, backed up his game tape. Assuming he interviewed well and his medicals check out, that Underwear Olympics gold medal he won on Monday will likely be followed up with him being selected in the first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Dating back to 2004, the University of Pittsburgh has only had four players drafted in the first round with wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin being the last in 2011. The last Panther defensive lineman to be drafted in the first round was Sean Gilbert in 1992 when the Los Angeles Rams selected him third overall.