Lately many mock drafts have included the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting DT Aaron Donald with their first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Steelers should not draft him in the first round for a couple of reasons.
The first, and most important, reason that Pittsburgh should pass on Donald is that he doesn’t fit their scheme. It has come to my attention that while everyone is hyping up Donald to the Steelers, nobody has really elaborated on a fit.
Donald projects as a 4-3 DT or could potentially switch to a 3-4 DE. The Steelers play a 3-4 and they already have former first-round pick Cameron Heyward manning one side of the defensive line. It would be foolish to draft a player at No. 15 overall who will have to switch positions and then sit on the bench while he’s learning.
The second, which relates back to the first, is that the Steelers need to draft players who can start or contribute significantly from the day they set foot in the facility. Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career and the Steelers’ championship window is closing. Donald, although talented, will not be able to provide what the Steelers need in this draft, and they really need to hit if they are to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive.
If, in fact, the Steelers were to target a DT in the 2014 NFL Draft there are other options to consider. For example, Louis Nix III is a talented player who projects well as a 3-4 NT. The Steelers could pick him up in the second round if he falls to them.
Despite speculation of Donald becoming a Steeler, it is unlikely to happen. There are much more pressing positional needs and more talented players for the Steelers to explore with their first-round pick this year.