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Steelers' players impressed by Donald, D-line

Posted Feb 26, 2014

T Kelvin Beachum, WR Markus Wheaton and C Maurkice Pouncey weigh in on Pitt's Aaron Donald and the speed of the defensive linemen.

Like many in the football world Steelers’ players tuned in to parts of the NFL Scouting Combine. One of the things that impressed them was the performance of some of the defensive linemen, including a local player, Pitt’s Aaron Donald who is from Penn Hills, just outside of Pittsburgh.

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Offensive Tackle Kelvin Beachum

On the size and speed combination of the defensive linemen:
“The defensive linemen are getting real fast. We saw the clips of some of the guys compared to the quarterbacks, running with the virtual stuff. It’s pretty awesome and scary at the same time to see guys running that fast. It’s a different type of thing when you are on the field and have pads on and assignments.”

On if that speed can be disruptive to an offense:
“It shows how fast they can get off the ball. From my standpoint of seeing a guy like (Jadeveon) Clowney or Donald being able to get off the ball that fast, those are the kind of steps you think about of them being disruptive.”

On overall impression of Aaron Donald:
“I played against him when SMU played Pitt my senior year. He was disruptive then and the fact that he has held true as far as being a disruptive defensive lineman throughout his years in college shows he is a tenacious guy, has a great motor and is going to be a good NFL player.” 

* * *

Wide Receiver Markus Wheaton

On the speed of the defensive linemen:
“I think it’s remarkable. I feel like going into it you wouldn’t expect it. You would think those quarterbacks, like Johnny ‘Football’ (Manziel) and Colin Kaepernick, would be faster than the defensive linemen, especially with the size that they have. It’s remarkable that they can run that fast.”

On the impact their quickness off the ball can have in disrupting an offense: “It’s huge, especially going against linemen the size offensive linemen are. Those guys coming off the edge and being able to turn the corner and get to the quarterback, that shows they can run the quarterback down.”

On how disruptive of a guy Pitt’s Aaron Donald is: “I haven’t seen him play, but I saw him run so I can imagine how disruptive of a player he can be.”

* * *

Center Maurkice Pouncey

On speed of defensive linemen at combine:

“It’s pretty impressive that guys who are that big can run that fast. As an offensive lineman it makes it hard a guy so big and athletic they can really get up field and it makes it harder to block him. I think we are all at that level that we can do it.”

On thoughts of defensive linemen getting faster through the years:
“It’s crazy, but I hope we get them all on our team and they can rush the opposing quarterback.”

On Pitt’s Aaron Donald:
“He plays with great energy, goes hard on every play. He kind of reminds me of Cam Heyward, a guy that goes out there and gives it his all on every play and it shows.”

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