-- We interrupt the NFL Free Agent Frenzy for some NFL Draft Talk --
For over 30 years Mel Kiper Jr. has been in the NFL Draft business. He turned a passion into a brand that is recognized throughout the football world, and he's arguably the best known of all the draftniks out there.
Kiper was probably the first draft guru any of us remember listening to, and his stint covering the draft for ESPN began in 1984. I still remember faking an illness so I could stay home from school and watch the draft way back when...
Kiper just dropped his latest mock draft 3.0, and yes the majority is behind a pay wall so we won't bring you everything, but we will spotlight his Chicago Bears pick at #14, Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh.
Analysis: The Bears have already added Lamarr Houston in free agency, but that's just a starting point on this defensive line, which is still thin and was absolutely gutted by injury last season. Donald equals disruption, and no player was more of a force against opposing offenses in college football last season. He's had a good combine and a good Senior Bowl and is now worthy of this draft slot.
I would absolutely love this pick. Even with the recent Willie Young signing, even if the Bears bring back Corey Wootton and even if they re-sign Henry Melton, the Bears need to boost the talent on the defensive line, and Donald can bring a lot to the table.
He was officially measured at 6'1" and 285 pounds at the NFL combine. His athleticism at the combine created a buzz that made scouts go back and re-watch film. His forty time of 4.68 is very good for a DT, but his 10 yard split is even more impressive.
Donald ran the first 10 yards in 1.59 seconds. For some perspective, not only was that the fastest split of all the defensive tackles, but it equaled the split of the player that Kiper has going #1 overall, Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
It's also very close to the 1.56 that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and outside linebacker Anthony Barr ran, both will be top 15 picks, and both are lauded for their speed. Through the years, the average 10 yard split for defensive tackles has been 1.75 and for defensive ends it has been 1.63. We're talking about a player, in Aaron Donald, with elite starting speed.
A couple other players that Kiper has available at number 14 are Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
Would you be OK with Donald at 14?