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2014 NFL mock draft: Aaron Donald to Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 15

The Steelers need to rediscover their old ways on defense, and might tap into the local prospect market to achieve that end.

For the second time in the last two decades, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a two-year stretch in which they have not made the playoffs. Part of the reason for their 16-16 record in those two seasons: an aging defense that gave up 684 points in those 32 games, the highest two-season point total allowed by the Steelers since the 1988-1989 seasons.

On behalf of Behind the Steel Curtain, Neal Coolong is here to address the team's defense in the SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft - and he's not looking far away from home geographically to do so.

Team Player Pos. Ht Wt Class
15. Steelers Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh DT 6'1 285 SR

"Surprised? There’s very little about the Steelers pass rush or defensive line that should obligate them to staying inside the '0 and 5 technique' box. Donald is one of the best overall players in this draft, in our opinion, and we have faith in Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to spend some time in the lab scheming up ways to get Donald on the field. Would he stand up and rush off the edge? Maybe. He’s only an inch shorter than LaMarr Woodley, and weighed probably 10 pounds heavier, but he’s still faster in short spaces. Will he rush the A gap? Why not? His first step is as explosive as any other player in the draft. Penetration leads to pressure leads to sacks and turnovers - two things the Steelers really haven't generated the last three seasons. Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting."

Dan Kadar, our esteemed NFL Draft analyst, has some thoughts and opinions to share on the Steelers' mock draft pick of Donald:

The value Donald here is fine. That's without dispute. The fit on Pittsburgh just isn't. It's one thing to take a college defensive end and shift him out to standing up at linebacker. It's another to try and do it with a defensive tackle. If Donald is lining up as an end in a 3-4, he doesn't have the length to be effective in that role.

To close out today's trio of picks, the editorial staff from Blogging the Boys will be making the Dallas Cowboys No. 16 overall pick at 3 p.m. Eastern. Stay tuned!

Top 5 players remaining

# Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.
8 Eric Ebron
TE North Carolina
9 C.J. Mosley
LB Alabama 6'2 234
12 Louis Nix DT Notre Dame 6'2 326
15 Xavier Su'a-Filo OG UCLA 6'4 307
17 Kony Ealy DE Missouri 6'4 273

2014 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results

Steelers picks

Rd # Team Player Pos. College
1 15 Pittsburgh Steelers Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh
2 46 Pittsburgh Steelers