When University of Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald has his name called during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft next month, he won’t be taking part in an uncomfortable-to-watch bro-hug with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the stage of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
According to a Friday report by Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Donald has decided to turn down an invitation to be present for the draft after praying about it.
“Aaron is so personal,” said Donald’ mother Anita Goggins. “He just didn’t want to go and have all those cameras in his face.
“He thought about it. He received a letter from (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell. One minute, he was going. The next minute he said, ‘I’m not going.’
“I told him to pray about it, just like when he wasn’t sure if he wanted to leave (Pitt) after his junior year. Last Friday (April 11), he made his choice.”
Donald, who will instead watch the draft at home in Pittsburgh with his family, won’t likely need to rely on prayer in order to get drafted early in the first round after having a tremendous 2013 season followed by a spectacular showing during the week of the Senior Bowl. From that point forward, he’s been speculated by many as being a near lock to be drafted somewhere in the top ten.
Since the inaugural draft in February 1936, the University of Pittsburgh has had a total of 24 players drafted in the first round with wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin being the last one when he was selected 26th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011.
The last Pittsburgh player to be drafted in the top ten was wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald when the Arizona Cardinals made him the third overall selection in 2004.