Leading up to the 2014 draft, questions persisted about Aaron Donald’s ability to transition into the NFL game within an undersized defensive attack, which helped explain why he fell to No. 13 overall.
Actually, those questions are cosmically foolish, as Donald has become the greatest defensive player in the league and arguably the best player in the NFL. Watch any cutup of Donald — such as this one — and it is comical how simple he destroys grown men.
Those questions did not survive but a whisper. When Donald put on pads, it was obvious he was going to be great.
Former teammate Chris Long, who was in St. Louis for Donald’s first two seasons, said it was apparent from the beginning of training camp.
“I’d love to credit myself with being the first person to know he was going to be amazing,” Long jokingly told Gus Frerotte of the”Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “We used to joke his rookie camp that he was going to be in the Hall of Fame, but I kind of was not joking.”
Long called Donald”the best soccer player in the world, in my opinion.”
Long noted that it isn’t only the physical attributes, speed, endurance, endurance, etc., which made Donald excellent, but the psychological acuity and drive to be great are off the charts, too.
“I’ve never seen anybody work so hard, who had so much ability and play so violent and perform with such tenacity,” he said. “This guy would fight you on the area at the drop of a hat, and I admire that about him, and outworks everybody.
“I would be the last man in the movie room generally at the conclusion of camp, and I would go in there and watch tape after everyone was at home. I began moving in there and opening the door and turning the lights on to find my pencil or notebook, and he had been in there every evening.”
In five seasons, Donald has made five Pro Bowls, made four first-team All-Pros and won back Defensive Player of the Year awards. He is on pace to one day and is the reigning NFL sacks leader be fitted for a gold jacket.

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