It’s no secret the Steelers will face one heck of a challenge on Sunday dealing with Aaron Donald, the Rams’ all-everything defensive tackle.
Donald, who played at the University of Pittsburgh, was understandably the topic of conversation in the locker room on Wednesday, with his ability to wreak havoc on every play.
“He is one of those guys who is extremely talented,” said David DeCastro. “He has athletic, strong talent. I think his best attribute is just how smart he is as a football player. The instincts, knowing where the ball is going, where and when to go and the leverage stuff. You watch that on tape and play against him and you respect that.
“We are lucky we don’t see him too often. He is a tremendous talent.”
If there is anyone in the Steelers locker room who is familiar with that talent it’s Mark Barron. Barron played for the Rams for five seasons before signing with the Steelers in the offseason and knows exactly what Donald is capable of after playing on the same defense during that time.
“It’s a combination of things,” said Barron. “First of all, he has the talent. On top of that he has the work ethic and he does it every day. He comes to work and puts that same level of work in every day. There is never a day off. It’s always the same level every day.
“Everybody knows what Aaron likes to do. He is hard not to see. You see his highlights everywhere. People know who Aaron Donald is.
“People try to double him. Sometimes he beats them, sometimes he doesn’t. At some point in the game Aaron Donald is going to make a play. You just have to try and limit that.”
Barron will be a good source for his teammates on both sides of the ball this week, willing to offer whatever tips he can to help them prepare for the Rams.
“I kind of know a good bit about what they do, but it’s all a matter of execution from our standpoint,” said Barron. “They are going to come out and do what they do. We have to come out and do what we do. From there it’s a matter of who is going to do it better.”
Welcome back: The Steelers signed Sutton Smith to the practice squad on Wednesday, bringing back one of the team’s sixth-round picks.
Smith, the 175th pick overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, played college football at Northern Illinois where he became the first two-time All-American in school history. He was a two-time MAC Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018) and ranks third all-time in school history in sacks with 30 and second in tackles for a loss with 58.