Buzz building around Donnal


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As an offensive tackle from Iowa, Andrew Donnal was always going to get a look from NFL scouts.
After all, Iowa is known as something akin to an offensive-line factory, and many of those products get at least a chance in the league. Now, however, some draft analysts believe that he’ll get more than just a chance; he might earn a spot on a team.

“I always wanted to be a professional athlete; it was something that I dreamed of,” Donnal said. “Finally seeing that dream kind of start to unfold, that it’s a possibility now, is unreal — it’s hard to explain.”

NFL.com has him ranked at 5.34 on their 10-point rankings scale, which puts him in the “NFL backup or special-teams potential” category.

He’s also in a number of mock drafts, ranging from the fifth to the seventh rounds. It seems as if the buzz has built around him since the Combine and is listed by several outlets as a “mid-round gem.”

“Donnal shapes up as a versatile option who could play right tackle in the NFL or move inside to guard,” wrote John McMullen, NFL editor at SportsNetwork.com. “At 6-6, he’s got the prototypical frame and adequate, if unspectacular, athleticism.”

Speaking of his frame, it seems that Donnal has put on weight. He weighed 313 pounds at the NFL Combine, up 10 pounds from what he was listed as on Iowa’s roster during his senior year.

He has worked closely with Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who helped him prepare for the Combine.

“They’ve grown me into the physical player that I am,” Donnal said. “At first, it was a lot of stuff getting ready for the Combine and Pro Day. Since that’s been all over, it’s about getting back into football shape.”

Donnal has also received some hype from Lance Zierlein, an NFL draft analyst for NFL.com, who has him going late in the sixth-round to the Seattle Seahawks.

He’s not the only one who believes Donnal will be drafted. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock assigned him a fourth- to fifth round grade, and Sports Illustrated has him at No. 174 on its list of the top-300 prospects.

While those rankings guarantee him little, the bottom line is that Donnal can play. The major knock on him is that he lacks some of the brute physical strength that tackles such as Brandon Scherff have, but he makes up for it with his versatility and understanding of the game.

Donnal will more than likely become what is referred to as a “swing tackle,” which basically means he can play numerous positions along the line. Having played both tackle and guard at Iowa, he hopes that will be one more thing that helps him in the draft.

“It makes me more marketable as a football player,” Donnal said. “Having experience at numerous positions makes it easier for coaches to get me in a game because I do have experience, and I am able to play numerous spots on both sides of the ball.”

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