College Spotlight: Tuesday Afternoon Prospect

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Let's take a look at who is on T.A.P. today.

If you are one to hastily pass over a prospect merely because he lacks the prototypical height and weight for his specific position, then you might as well move on to the next article. I get it. The odds are stacked against the guys who have size limitations. Even our diminutive general manager's affinity for large bodies tacitly reveals how little he values those who are undersized. This fact alone should have deterred me enough to look in another direction, but I'm stubborn, especially when it comes to players I believe in, and today's Tuesday Afternoon Prospect is one of those players.

It isn't often that you see a 6-Foot even, 285-Pound defensive tackle dominate at the FBS level, but that's exactly what Aaron Donald has done over the past three seasons at Pittsburgh University. On tape, he rarely looks over-matched. In fact, it's usually the other way around. Donald's quickness is simply too much for opposing guards and centers to mirror. His hand technique and pass rush moves are advanced enough to make most lineman look silly, and he proves as much on a consistent basis. The Pittsburgh native uses his natural low to the ground leverage and powerful upper body to make defensive coordinators pay for assigning a single lineman to block him. Even when double teamed, Donald is able to knife his way into the backfield.

Need further proof? Through eight games this season, Donald has already surpassed his considerable sack and tackle-for-loss totals from last season, which is due in large part to his heroics this past Saturday in a loss to Georgia Tech. It was truly a Herculean effort as he recorded a sack, 6 tackles for loss, 11 solo tackles and 2 forced fumbles. Yes, you read that right.

Despite the fact that he may not look the part of a professional under tackle, I genuinely believe Donald will one day make an NFL team very happy. So why not the Carolina Panthers? From where I stand, I see a younger, cheaper, more effective replacement for Dwan Edwards. As it stands, I predict Donald will be taken somewhere in the second round. He would surely be on my short list at that point, but I would prefer to see if he would last until the 3rd round, where I would snatch him up in a heartbeat.

What say you CSR? Be sure to let everyone know what you think in the poll and the comment section that follows.

Year G Solo Assists Total Sacks TFL PBU QB Hurr FF
2010 13 8 3 11 2 3 2 5 0
2011 13 22 25 47 11 16 4 11 1
2012 12 42 22 64 5.5 18.5 2 11 1
2013 8 29 7 36 9 19.5 1 8 3

Watch this and you'll become a believer too.

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