Futures: Pitt DT Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald is as promising as Geno Atkins Photo by Ashley and Matthew Hemingway.
Aaron Donald is as promising as Geno Atkins Photo by Ashley and Matthew Hemingway.

I’m not a betting man, but if I were, Aaron Donald would be one of two players in this deep draft class that I’d have no reservations betting on as a future star.

Futures: Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald

By Matt Waldman

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If only it was as easy as it looks on the page.

I don’t get to visit often, but I’m a big fan of The Sideline View. Lance Zierlein, John Harris and the rest of the team provide the goods on the game. As I examined the first round of Zierlein’s latest mock draft, it struck me that for a class noted for its depth of talent, there are few “safe” picks.

Greg Robinson, Khalil Mack, Ryan Shazier, Eric Ebron, Dee Ford, Johnny Manziel, and Anthony Barr have a ton of upside, but they are just a small list of the top 50 players on draft boards with notable shortcomings. However, most starters in the NFL have flaws and the NFL knows that the upside it covets from these headliners outweighs the risks.

Some of these flaws have nothing to do with a player’s work on the field. Jadeveon Clowney and C.J. Mosley are two prospects with unquestioned skill, but rumors about Clowney’s work ethic (which I think are questionable in origin) and Mosley’s injury history generate lingering questions about them fulfilling their vast promise.

My short list of safe picks — barring issues of character and injury — includes Jake Matthews, Sammy Watkins, Teddy Bridgewater, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, and Darqueze Dennard. I am confident that barring catastrophic injury, these six players will at least provide 6-to-8 years of serviceable work as starters in the NFL.

If I were a betting man, there are only two players in Zierlein’s mock draft that I’d wager on developing into Pro Bowl players. The one from the above list of players is Watkins, and the other is Aaron Donald. Read the rest at Football Outsiders.

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