Some thoughts after three days of charting the NFL Draft:
– For the first time since 1999, no Pitt players were drafted, but seven found new homes in the NFL through free agency.
Watching 253 names flashed on the TV screen — and none of those being his — proved too much for Pitt outside linebacker Brandon Lindsey, who said he stopped watching after a while.
Defensive tackle Chas Alecxih called it “the worst experience ever,” which is saying something for a player who had three head coaches yanked from him in his last year at Pitt.
Maybe that’s the point — Pitt players were yo-yoed from one system to another so often that few found a comfort zone and were unable to develop consistency in their performance. Who knows how things would have turned out if Dave Wannstedt’s pro-style offense hadn’t been replaced by Todd Graham’s high octane?
Nonetheless, seven Pitt players played well enough to get free-agent offers Saturday night, including Alecxih (Dolphins), Lindsey (Steelers), linebacker Max Gruder (Falcons), cornerback Antwuan Reed (Browns), guard Lucas Nix (Raiders), linebacker Greg Williams (Texans) and cornerback Buddy Jackson (Colts).
That’s an impressive number, indicating the draft just wasn’t long enough for the Panthers.
Other thoughts, news:
– The most recent time Pitt had seven players drafted was 1990, bookended by No. 3 pick Marc Spindler (Lions) and No. 11 Carnel Smith (Colts). In fact from 1988 to 1992, Pitt had 30 players drafted, including No. 1 picks Craig Heyward (Saints, ’88), Burt Grossman (Chargers, ’89) and Sean Gilbert (Rams, ’92). Only one of those 30 went to the Steelers (Jerry Olsavsky, ’89).
Pitt’s record in that time: 31-24-2, including only two bowl games. That’s about one victory for each player drafted.
– The snub of Nix was puzzling, but injuries to his knee (during the season) and pectoral muscle (post-season) didn’t help. He is recovered, however, and possesses all the tools, including a nasty streak that, now, might be supplemented by a chip on his shoulder. Good luck to Lucas, and to the first Raiders rookie defensive lineman who is ordered to line up opposite him.
– Fullback/H-back Devin Goda of Slippery Rock University and Elizabeth-Forward High School signed with the Ravens. He played wide receiver in college at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds.
– West Virginia offensive tackle Don Barclay signed with the Packers. That makes two Seneca Valley graduates in two years going to the NFC North (Brandon Fusco, sixth-round pick of the Vikings).