Could Cowboys select ‘next Aaron Donald’ in NFL Draft?

Calijah Kancey, College Football, Dallas Cowboys, NFL, Pittsburgh Panthers

While the Cowboys can’t add Aaron Donald to a stacked unit, they can draft a player with shades of his game. 

The comparisons between Pitt DT Calijah Kancey and Donald, who also played at Pitt, are uncanny. 

They have similar physical sizes. Kancey is 6-foot-1, 281 pounds, while Donald is 6-foot-1, 280 pounds. Each made first-team All-American during their final collegiate season, and Kancey ran a 4.67 40-yard dash at the combine, just one-tenth faster than Donald.  

“You can certainly construct a highlight tape that is virtually indistinguishable from Donald’s college dominance. He wins similarly to Donald and is one of the few players capable of replicating some of Donald’s signature plays,” wrote Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson.
However, Donald has set a high bar in nine seasons. He’s earned nine Pro Bowls nods, three NFL Defensive Player of The Year Awards and has won a Super Bowl. Matching him is an enormous task.

Kancey is less polished than Donald, too. He had only 17 tackles in 11 games last season, while Donald had 43 in 13 games during his final season at Pitt.

However, Dallas DC Dan Quinn is adept at developing raw defensive talent. Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs became Pro Bowlers under Quinn. Perhaps he could do the same with Kancey. 

Also, he fills a need even if he doesn’t become the next Donald. The Cowboys still need to re-sign DT Jonathan Hankins. If they can’t agree to a deal, they’ll have a player with an upside who can fulfill this role.

Kancey’s projected to be a late first-rounder. Dallas is within his range with the No. 26 overall pick. So it could be a great match. 

Leave a Reply