He's my favorite player in the draft, along with Kyle Van Noy. Favorite in terms of liking the way they play. I'm not claiming they'll be the two best guys out of this crop.
A few months ago when I started following the process more closely, Donald and Van Noy were strangely low in the ratings. Van Noy has remained there, probably because there was no way he could duplicate 2012 in terms of percentage of big plays among his total tackles. It was ridiculous. He naturally returned to a more normal level and somehow that's being held against him. It never ceases to amaze me that guys who have proven they can make a major impact are downgraded if they flatten out late in their career, like Van Noy and Marquise Lee, yet stiffs who are mostly projections are happily adjusted toward the top.
Donald reminds me of Tavon Austin last year in that somehow I was seeing second round projections on him in January. Didn't make a fleck of sense, given the rare talent and playmaking ability. Austin jumped to a more logical level and it looks like Donald will follow the same route. I don't think he'll get within 4-5 picks of our choice.
j-off-her-doll and others described it perfectly earlier in the thread. Earl Mitchell and others on our defensive line roster should mean nothing toward a decision on Aaron Donald, if he's there, just like Tannehill's presence should mean nothing if Bridgewater somehow slipped to us. We don't have strengths. You've got to hammer that into your skull. Nothing on this team is elite. Even the punter hits too many line drives. Last year the opposition allowed him to get away with it via only one deep man allowing the ball to drop and scamper. Since I joined this site in 2005 an ongoing amazement is lists of our players held up as special, and no need to touch that area. Meanwhile, on any other team we wouldn't be scared of that group or even be able to name them. Draft a great player. It won't hurt. If we end up with a right tackle at #19 I'll be ill. What are the odds the best player available happens to be a right tackle? The Hickey era will immediately stamp itself as not appreciably different than Spielman or Ireland.