Monday was the first day of the rest of Aaron Donald’s life.
And the former Pitt defensive tackle didn’t waste it, putting on an impressive show for NFL scouts and coaches at Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Ala. Donald is a member of the North squad, coached by the Atlanta Falcons staff. The game will be played Saturday.
Here is a report from NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Dane Brugler:
“DT Aaron Donald was an unstoppable force on Monday. Like his play all season, the Pitt defensive tackle was extremely quick in drills and was relentless from snap to whistle. His burst and anticipation off the snap and active energy to fight through and around blocks make him tough for any blocker to handle.
“Donald repeatedly victimized Baylor OG Cyril Richardson at practice, winning with leverage, hustle and fluidity that Richardson has likely never seen before on the football field. Donald’s skill-set is ideal for one-on-one drills so he should shine, but the NFL team that drafts him will get a really good football player.”
Here are some additional comments from Brugler:
— Former ACC quarterbacks Stephen Morris of Miami, Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech and Tajh Boyd of Clemson were “inconsistent on day one, which was almost expected after the up-and-down senior seasons of all three.”
“Boyd in particular struggled with accuracy and his ball placement is a strong concern. Thomas threw a few pretty passes that hit receivers between the numbers, but other fastballs hit the ground or sailed over his intended target.
The good news for this group? The only place to go from here is up.
— Also flashing good and bad tendencies was Miami OT Seantrel Henderson.
— Wide receivers Jared Abbrederis of Wisconsin, Robert Herron of Wyoming and Josh Huff of Oregon looked good and have a chance to among the first 100 players drafted in May.
— North Carolina DE Kareem Martin (and his long 34 3/8” arms) did an excellent job combating hand moves from Ohio State OT Jack Mewhort and riding him past the pocket. But it was a good day overall for Mewhort, 6-6, 306, who has shown good improvement from his underclassmen days.
— Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward is the top safety prospect in Mobile, according to Brugler. “He overcame a few poor angles early and put together a good practice, showing off his foot quickness and aggressive instincts.
— Clemson OT Brandon Thomas projects better at guard where he can operate in a smaller space. He measured in at 34 3/8” arms and will use that length to engage and bury defenders – just ask DE James Gayle of Virginia Tech. Thomas dominated Gayle a few times. But Thomas struggled in space during drills, bringing up questions on whether or not he should stay on the edges.