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NFL

Clowney physically gifted, but questions remain heading into NFL draft

| Sunday, May 4, 2014, 10:00 p.m.
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South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney looks on during a game Sept. 14, 2013, in Columbia, S.C.

A year ago, Jadeveon Clowney was seen as the all-but-certain No. 1 pick following his 13-sack sophomore season at South Carolina.

But arguably the most gifted player in the 2014 draft class had a so-so junior season, and there are questions about his motivation and intangibles as the draft approaches.

Aaron Donald, on the other hand, is a case study in football perseverance — a testimony to his work ethic, drive and dedication.

The Penn Hills native wasn't projected to be one of college football's elite players before last season. But he won every possible award except the Heisman Trophy.

Donald wasn't expected to be a first-round draft pick after the season ended. But after an exceptional offseason, he is likely to become only the eighth Pitt defensive lineman drafted during the first round.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. calls Clowney “the best defensive end (prospect) in 20 years.” But many in the NFL are waiting to see if the overachieving-to-date Donald or the underachieving-to-date Clowney has the best career.

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