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


Help Wanted: Football Players

Candidates must demonstrate efficiency and productivity while performing in a fast-paced, stressful environment. Speed, quickness, and strength required. Toughness and quick thinking are essential. Prototypical height and weight for role preferred, but will consider candidates with exceptional compensatory skills. Major college program is a plus. Relocation required. Job entails travel for 50-65 percent of work year. Submit a portfolio of work, at least five professional and five character references, and a working phone number to NFL.com. Eligible candidates should expect to receive a call in May for a summer training program at one of our 32 branches.

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.

Categories: 2014 NFL Draft, PlayersTags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: