The 2014 NFL Draft starts one week from tonight.
Aaron Donald's performance in 2014, coupled with his sweep of all postseason defensive awards, performance at the Senior Bowl, performance at the NFL Combine and at Pitt's Pro Day has been remarkable.
NFL Network Draft Analyst--who will release a special Mock Draft on Wednesday at 7 pm, prior to the Draft, has Donald listed as one of his top 12 prospects. He mentions the New York Giants at 12, or the Chicago Bears at 14.
The only concern about Donald, is whether he might slip to later in the first round, but only based on what other teams draft.
"Aaron Donald, who I have number 12 on my board, if he doesn't go to Chicago or Dallas, he could fly down in those (lower rounds)," Mayock said.
Donald has been one of his favorite players overall. In recent days, he says there are concerns from NFL teams about his height, and whether or not his explosive burst is not enough at the NFL level, how he might pan out. He hopes that isn't the case, because Donald has done everything a player is supposed to do to put himself in position to be a Top-15 pick.
"If I have eight or ten favorite players every year, (Donald) is one of them for me, this year," Mayock added. "Sometimes guys slide a little bit because they're not a fit for a lot of teams. He did everything he could to become a Top-15 pick. He should be a top-of-the-first-round player. I don't think he's going much higher (than 12th overall).
"There are a lot of teams that have a little concern about his height, or what he'll do if his explosive burst doesn't work. I hope that doesn't happen. He's too good a football player, too good a kid. He should be a middle-of-the-first-round pick."
Mayock raved about this year's crop of quarterbacks, of which he has 10 players graded as first-round picks. In an average year, he says there's typically five quarterbacks with first-round grades.
He didn't specify whether Pitt's Tom Savage was one of them, but he did talk about some of the reasons why Savage's stock has gone up recently.
Heading into the Draft, Savage has individually met with three NFL teams. Similar to Donald, he'd like to see Savage land somewhere, where he's a good fit.
"You'd like him to have better feet, maybe cut down on those sacks. From an arm perspective, you like Tom Savage. He's probably a third-rounder, but he could slide into the fourth round. He's going to have to speed up his process."
"Devin Street, he's a tall wideout, he has some skills," Mayock said. "I would like to see him get a little bit stronger. If he could beef up, win some more of those jump balls, he'll be fine. I think he's probably going to go in the fifth round."