April 27, 2011

Oh, Right. The NFL Draft

Filed under: Alumni,Draft,Football,NFL — Chas @ 1:39 pm

Barely paid any attention to it. Between the lockout stuff, basketball season, and the fact that the NFL is starting this thing on a Thursday night. The Thursday night thing seems to really have me thrown off. The all-day Saturday couch potatoing was a personal favorite for me. Now that’s all gone.

Still, Pitt should have several players drafted this year. Whether Sheard or Baldwin crack the first round is anyone’s guess. That and where Greg Romeus, Dion Lewis and Henry Hynoski get drafted. Plus questions about whether Jason Pinkston and Dom DeCicco get snagged near the end or sign undrafted free agent deals.

Guess at least a rundown on some of the stories. I’ll skip the mock drafts that multiply and come from so many different places these days.

One of the best pieces on a player was this Greg Romeus one from a Tampa Bay Bucs site. Writing about all that Romeus went through in 2010 makes it a must read, but this bit really caught my attention.

“I remember the first three years I played, and in 2009 I was running like 80 snaps per game because our coaches didn’t really trust our backups,” Romeus said. “I think I’ve become a great pass rusher, but there are still different moves and different things I need to work on. You can never be too good at using your hands. I think my hands and just finishing plays are some things I can work on. Playing as many snaps as I did without ever coming out of the game, I didn’t play at full speed on all of my snaps. Teams at the NFL level pride themselves on hustle, so I need to get my conditioning to the point where I can go 100 percent every single play for an entire game.”

[Emphasis added.]

Mixed feelings when I read this once I get past the mock shock of the statement. One of the things that Wannstedt was supposed to do was recruit and he always talked of building depth. That never happened. LB, OL, CB, S all seemed continually thin.

Arguably, the deepest spot on the team was DE (and DT). Yet the mix of guys like Romeus being so good you don’t want to play too many snaps without them out there, and an unwillingness to play the back-ups came into play.

Jabaal Sheard seems to be getting a lot of attention in New England. As an early 2d round likely draft pick, and being converted to outside linebacker. Here’s a puff piece on Sheard focusing on how he grew after the night of throwing someone through a glass door.

Rhetorical questions about whether the incident negatively affects his draft stock seem laughable since Sheard was viewed as a 3d or 4th round draft pick back in January. Now he’s a solid 2d and maybe even the end of the 1st round. Surprised not to see more rumors, thoughts and suggestions that Sheard could end up in Buffalo since Dave Wannstedt is coaching the defense there.

Jon Baldwin isn’t getting a lot of buzz. He seems to be in every mock and predicted draft board as somewhere in the 2d round. And there has to be the obligatory story mentioning Baldwin coming from “da ‘Quip.”

“I’ve done everything possible to put myself in this position,” Baldwin said. “And it’s very humbling for me to think I’ll be joining so many other great athletes from Aliquippa who got picked in the NFL Draft.”

Moving down, Dion Lewis got a full-feature, front-on, puffer from his hometown Albany paper. It’s got pictures, multiple videos. It’s a veritable multi-media lovefest for Dion Lewis, and arguably how a newspaper can utilize the web for a deeper, more personal story. Enjoy it.

The article also mentions a Greg Doyel column that used Lewis as his posterboy for players that deserve a break from the NCAA to allow them to go back to school up to the last minute. I like giving kids as much as time as possible to make the decision and think that in football and now basketball, the NCAA does wrong by the kids it puports to look out for, but Lewis is probably the wrong choice to use as an example by Doyel.

Lewis has made it clear that one of the driving factors in his decision to leave early is the position he plays.

Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis is one of a dozen running backs to declare early for the draft. He also dismissed the impact of a lockout on his decision, noting the move had more to do with his position.

“Obviously a running back takes the most pounding of any position out there,” says Lewis, who goes 5-foot-8, 195, but is considered a pretty good inside runner. “And the career for a running back is not that long. You have to try to get to the NFL as quickly as possible. I felt I had two great years and it was time to chase my dream.

“It is tough this way, and makes it a lot harder than for other rookies coming in other years. All we can do is wait to get that call (for being drafted), then wait to get that call for going in to start to work with your team.”

Meanwhile Henry Hynoski, the 1st or 2nd ranked fullback in this draft, will receive his degree and is still trying to make up for a hamstring pull during the combine.

“I really transformed myself, my body for the combine,” said Hynoski, who will graduate this week. “I worked really hard to get ready, transformed my whole lifestyle. I had my meals planned out and was following a structured regiment.”

He did most of the testing at the combine — “I was testing through the roof going into it,” he said — bench pressing 225 pounds 24 times, doing the broad jump in better than 11 feet and had a vertical leap of more than 30 inches.

But it was the 40 time, and the aftermath, that caused his stock to drop. While his time hurt, scouts obviously saw he was injured, they knew he had run in the 4.7s at Pitt. What really hurt was the fact that Hynoski did not get to do the position drills he had worked so hard preparing for.

“The tough part was missing the position drills, because that is where I would have separated myself,” said Hynoski, who also missed Pitt’s pro day with the injury. “It was frustrating, but I knew I did everything I could to be ready to be an NFL fullback.”

No one’s giving love to Jason Pinkston, so he’s doing it for himself. Wait, poor phrasing. Pinkston has been doing a couple posts at Huffington Post. He backs the union/trade group, and realized he could make it in the NFL when Pitt beat UNC in the Car Care Bowl (glad he realized it before the 2010 season).

Unfortunatley Dion Lewis and Hynoski may not get drafted…

Comment by POLE 04.27.11 @ 8:32 pm

Does it really matter so long as they make a team. I’m pretty confidnat Hynoski does. Not as certain with Lewis.

Comment by pitt1972 04.27.11 @ 9:10 pm

Unrelated note.

Sam Young (Memphis) getting it done tonight against San Antonia. Young with 18 points. Congrats to Young.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 04.27.11 @ 10:56 pm

Chas, it was pretty evident that DW was scared as hell not to play his starters almost the whole game. One of my biggest gripes with him was that he hardly ever got his second and third string kids – usually underclassmen who could have benefited from the real live playing time – into games even when the matches were blowouts. It isn’t enough to go the last series of a game to get needed experience.

Tyrone Ezell alluded to this also when he stated that after he missed two plays because of ‘mental mistakes’ against Miami DW told Gattuso to sit him down…and Ezell didn’t really play again for the rest of the year.

What Romeus should have been bitching about was the fact that DW played him against Utah when he knew how badly hurt Romeus was. That was borderline criminal in my eyes and indicative how how panicked Wannstedt was going into the 2010 season.

Comment by Reed 04.28.11 @ 4:57 am

To follow on:

This is a telling point also…

“Playing as many snaps as I did without ever coming out of the game, I didn’t play at full speed on all of my snaps.”

Comment by Reed 04.28.11 @ 5:00 am

1) link to

The above shows the Top 20 of alltime number of draft picks per college, and Pitt is still in there at 19 .. but fading fast, which is of course not uncommon for BE teams.

2) The counter argument is that Pitt offense in the past several years dominated time-of -possession for most of the games, allowing the defensive starters to get more rest .. however, I am in total agreement that DW was cared to play his reserves.

The new High Octane offense will be on the field much less if the stats from Tulsa are any indication … so we should be seeing liberal substitution on both sides of the ball this fall.

Comment by wbb 04.28.11 @ 8:51 am

Reed, again, your bias against DW is unconsionable. Romeus doesn’t play against Utah if (1) he didin’t get medical approval and (2) Romeus tells his coaches he is unfit to play.

The fact that you think it is ‘borderline criminal’ for DW to play Romeus shows an uncomon bias.

Comment by wbb 04.28.11 @ 8:58 am

“These are the times that try men’s souls”. Pens done, no Steelers, no Pitt football or hoops. Baseball, please.

One note on baseball, I have noticed. The Pirates haven’t just lost me because of the 21 years of losing.

As they started out, yet, again, with a couple wins, and the radio people were promoting it, as, “this is different, this time”. Ya, it was different last year, and the year before etc. etc.

I digress, I tried to watch a game a few weeks ago, when “it was going to be different this time”, and, I realized, they didn’t just lose me because of the inept losing, but, I realized, baseball in general, for me, was like watching paint dry. Because of this losing, I don’t know if I could watch, even if they started winning. (Don’t have to worry about that happening, I know)

Experiment::Especially noticeable, if you are watching a hockey game, college or pro football or college hoops. Try having one of those on, then switch to a baseball game, I swear everything slows down to a time warp, like a Dali painting, or watching Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’!!

H e w i n d s u p,

h e r e c o m e s t h e

p i t c hhhhhh.

Like I said, or, Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try mens souls”. Hey, revolution talk or lull in good sports, comparable!!!!

Comment by Dan 04.28.11 @ 9:43 am

“I had a great relationship with Coach Wannstedt and I still do,” Romeus said. “Just the fact that he took a chance on me is huge. Coming out of high school I only played in six games at that level. I think I got the last scholarship offered that year at Pitt and he took a chance on me. If somebody believes in me, I’m going to do whatever I have to do to satisfy him. I had a great relationship with Coach Wannstedt at Pitt. He’s a defensive-minded guy. He was patient with me and worked with me. It was really sad to see him go. He loved that job. It wasn’t like he couldn’t be in the NFL. He just would have rather been at Pitt. He loved Pitt so much having gone there as a player. He taught me so many lessons off the field as a man and he’s made me mature. I wish him all the best and appreciate what he did in his five years at Pitt.” Grg Romeus

Comment by POLE 04.28.11 @ 9:48 am

“I came back to school for my senior year and Coach Wannstedt played a big role in that decision,” Romeus said. “I wanted to help the team because there was going to be a lot of new starters. Just watching on the sidelines, I knew I could have helped the team and maybe saved his job had I been out there. I think I could have helped, and that’s the hardest thing – seeing Coach Wannstedt go out like that when I could have helped him keep his job.” Greg Romeus

Comment by POLE 04.28.11 @ 9:49 am

My bias against Wannstedt is conscionable, I couldn’t stand him pretty much, from the get go, and came to a head the last two years!!!

Comment by Dan 04.28.11 @ 10:16 am

Well Dan, I’m sure there are more than a handful on this site who feel the same way as you do. And while I’m not implying that DW didn’t deserve to be let go, I do not accept the fact that to many .. he was in ver high esteem just last summer when he was winning the recruiting wars then just 4 months later, he became the antiChrist.

No doubt that this past season sucked in many ways and hopefully hiring a ‘college’ coach is a step in the right direction, but the fact is that DW was not the abject failure as he has been portrayed by many in the past 4 months on this site.

I don’t know the guy but I do know he gave a great effort.

Comment by wbb 04.28.11 @ 11:35 am

Wanny is a good man, great alumnus but poor coach. The kids ultimately deserved better if one of the goals is to become better football players and achieve success on the field. His caring was both a blessing and a curse since his best friend philosophy was not effective when his kids crossed the line.

Comment by TX Panther 04.28.11 @ 11:41 am

here is the latest blog from PG’s P Zeise about Pitt players being drafted

link to

Comment by wbb 04.28.11 @ 1:22 pm

I really can’t see Lewis and DeCicco being drafted.

Jon Baldwin really has hurt his stock due to his attitude and his poor effort he put forth during his senior season, I think he slips to the 3rd round.

Jabaal Sheard is Pitt’s best hope and looks to be taken in round 2 and Jason Pinkston doesn’t have ideal size for a tackle but he should go in round 5.

Henry Hynoski is going to be either round 7 or free agent and Greg Romeus will get drafted in round 5 or 6 and this is due to doubts about his health.

I wish all of these kids the best but I think Lewis made a horrible mistake leaving early.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat! 04.28.11 @ 2:23 pm

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