Former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage believes former Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald may have vaulted himself among the top 15 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft with his performance in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine. Savage, the executive director of the Reese's Senior Bowl, named Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Donald and Ohio State's Bradley Roby as his top daily performers at the combine.
But it was Donald who may have made the most money in Indy.
"Everybody was buzzing about Aaron Donald ... Aaron ran sub-4.7, bench pressed a ton of reps, jumped over 30 inches, was terrific in the drills," Savage said. "I think he was seen (previously) as a player that was seen as probably a back half of the first round (prospect), I think now you're looking at a player who could conceivably go in the top 15 come May."
Savage is not alone in his belief that Donald's star is rising. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt, who was all over the scouting combine, is similarly impressed.
Donald (6-foot-1, 285 pounds) was clocked at 4.68 in the 40-yard dash, nearly unheard of for an interior defensive lineman. NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock was highly impressed with Donald's showing in Indianapolis, as well. Donald was a dominant presence at Pittsburgh with 63 tackles for loss and 27.5 sacks over his last three college seasons.
Savage said Watkins solidified himself as a top-10 pick with his combine performance, a sentiment echoed by Mayock, and said Roby did as much as any player to help his draft stock with a 4.39 40-yard dash.