6’1” – 285 lbs. – 4.68
2010: 11 – 3.0 – 2.0, 5 QBH, 2 PD
2011: 47 – 16.0 – 11.0, 11 QBH, 1 FF, 4 PD
2012: 64 – 18.5 – 5.5, 11 QBH, 1 FF, 2 PD
2013: 59 – 28.5 – 11.0, 16 QBH, 4 FF, 3 PD, 1 BK
Appeared in all thirteen games in a reserve capacity as a freshman, then earned a starting job as a sophomore at defensive end in the Panthers’ 3-4 defense. Earned first-team all-conference honors in each of the two seasons afterward, as well as the Bednarik, Nagurski, and Outland awards as a senior defensive tackle.
- Was perhaps the most productive defensive player in all of college football last season.
- Somewhat compensates for lack of ideal bulk with relatively long arms for his height.
- Freakish athlete who ranked near the top of the board in every major Combine workout.
- Lined up at both defensive tackle in the 4-3 and defensive end in the 3-4 in college.
- Does a good job of knifing into the opposing backfield; can win off the snap with burst.
- Exhibits an impressive closing burst once he’s in range to make a tackle or a sack.
- Also effective at bending the edge, redirects very smoothly for a defensive lineman.
- Uses the bull-rush effectively to re-establish the line of scrimmage, strong on impact.
- Mixes in a few other moves, most notably a swim move; has a diverse array of options.
- High-motor player who took a ton of snaps and will pursue the play to its conclusion.
- Smaller than you’d like a defensive tackle or five-technique end to be; magnified in NFL.
- Gap discipline is a bit lacking; can be too aggressive and gets washed past the hole.
- Probably not someone who represents an ideal fit for teams seeking two-gap defenders.
- Has a devastating initial move but doesn’t always get off of blocks if burst doesn’t work.
- Despite being a shorter player, also tends to play a bit upright, doesn’t protect legs well.
Donald began this season considered by many to be a second-or-third-round pick, but enjoyed an outstanding senior campaign in which he earned virtually every major award possible, following with an incredible Combine performance which solidified his status as a likely first-round draft pick, perhaps as the second defensive lineman off the board following Jadeveon Clowney. A player who compensates for his lack of ideal size for either defensive tackle or five-technique defensive end with nearly unparalleled athleticism, tenacity, stamina, and variety as a rusher, Donald makes the most sense as a tackle/end ‘tweener for a team with one-gap principles and could come off the board in the first half of the first round, most likely in the early teens.