Before I go into my explanation of why I believe Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald deserves to be considered the best defensive prospect in the 2014 draft, I must make a few things perfectly clear. Yes, I am a proud University of Pittsburgh alumni, Class of 1991, and I have genuinely enjoyed my opportunities to talk with Donald during his Pitt career.
But, make no mistake: I have never had any problems telling it like it is when it comes to football analysis and evaluation, so I am going to shoot you straight when it comes to Donald and why I think he has the potential to achieve greatness in the NFL -- and why he could be the most underrated player in this draft class.
Reason No. 1: He has crushed the postseason draft process
Donald was named the Most Outstanding Overall Player at the Reese's Senior Bowl practices during the Alabama Power Practice Awards ceremony at the annual Player's Banquet. Having attended those practices in person, I can tell you that during the closely scrutinized, one-on-one, pass-rush-drill portion of the practices, only Notre Dame OT Zack Martin and center Weston Richburg of Colorado State were able to hold their own when matched against him -- and both of those guys will likely have their names called within the first two rounds of the NFL draft next week. The rest of the offensive linemen matching up against him, to put it bluntly, got embarrassed by Aaron's combination of speed, functional power/explosiveness and superior technique/hand use.