May 5, 2011

Belated Pitt Players to NFL Round-Up

Filed under: Draft,Football,NFL — Chas @ 12:40 pm

With the lock-out reinstated over the course of the draft, there is no free agent signings taking place. This means whether an NFL player is a free agent or if it is a kid out of college that went undrafted, there is nothing. No signings can take place. So for Dom DeCicco, Henry Hynoski, Dan Hutchins, Nate Nix and even Ricky Gary: welcome to limbo. Stay in shape. Keep working out and not have a clue about where when or how you will play football. Good luck.

Well, Pitt had five players drafted this year. As the Pitt press release notes, its the most players drafted from Pitt since 2004. By a remarkable coincidence, the 2003 season was one of Pitt football’s most disappointing seasons based on the expectations and talent until this past 2010 season. Heck, there was even a WR from Pitt taken in the first round in both drafts (please note, that is the extent of the similarities with which anyone should ever compare Baldwin to Fitzgerald).

Usually when you get down to the 7th round, the argument starts to go that it would almost be better to be undrafted and get your choice on where to sign and compete in camp. Rather than be picked so late, get so little money and have little chance to succeed. Of course, in the lockout situation, that probably doesn’t apply. Henry Hynoski was surprised to find himself in this situation.

“I’m not feeling too good right now,” Hynoski said Saturday night. “I’m kind of in shock. This was really unexpected from all angles.”

Based on conversations he had with representatives from several teams and with his agent, Drew Smith of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Hynoski had said he was expecting to be drafted in one of the later rounds. That that didn’t happen was one surprise, but Hynoski said another was that most of the other names of potential fullback picks that he had heard, also went undrafted.

There were six fullbacks picked, but Hynoski was familiar with only one of them.

“The great majority were surprises to me,” he said. “One I knew for sure but the other ones I hadn’t heard mentioned much.”

That muscle pull at the draft combine killed him. Still, of all the undrafted Pitt players, Hyno is the most likely to find himself on a roster when the NFL actually is able to sign players.

Greg Romeus had a 2010 to forget. The injuries. The personal losses. Then to top it, sliding to the 7th round. I wouldn’t be surprised if his dog was hit by a car this year. That kind of year. The tallest dwarf consolation, he is considered the biggest high-reward pick in that round. A Q&A with the New Orleans paper has him still putting on the happy face.

Do you think the two injuries cost you a lot of money?

“Yeah, it definitely did. It cost me a lot of money, but that’s the game. There are injuries in football and sometimes it takes away from you, but at the same time, that’s behind me. I know I have to go out and get healthy now to get back on the field.”

Your emotions through this entire season, obviously you could have come out a year earlier, and chose to go back to school. What are your emotions throughout this whole past year up to this point?

“Yeah, It’s tough. I can’t act like I didn’t struggle a lot. Emotionally, it’s been a tough season for me. I had so many expectations going into my senior year coming back, I didn’t fulfill the ones that I wanted to. At the same time, it made me a better person. I’ve gone through these different things. It’s tried me and I’m still standing. I know when I look back, I’m going to look back and just appreciate things so much more.”

Romeus is a guy who is owed more than a few breaks after 2010.

Dion Lewis will finally get a chance to be the back-up to LeSean McCoy. As you would expect, there was excitement ( and probably quite a bit of relief) when his name was announced in the 5th round.

Right after Lewis was picked, the Browns traded up a few spots to grab Jason Pinkston. His versatility was part of the reason they wanted him, according to Browns GM Tom Heckert.

“We think he can play, probably if he had to, play left tackle, he could. But, he can play right tackle, he can play guard. I think anytime you can draft an offensive lineman that has that versatility, you’re in good shape. He was another guy that we liked. We obviously traded both our sixths to get up to get and get him. Hopefully he comes in and plays well for us.”

Everyone tries to draw connections so it was pointed out that Pinkston’s cousin Todd Pinkston was an Eagles WR while Heckert was in the Eagles organization. Somehow I doubt that was a factor. Pinkston also proved to be a good quote/savvy with the locals.

He grew up in Pittsburgh rooting for the Steelers.

“I love them, but it’s business now and I’m a Cleveland Brown,” Pinkston said.

So what’s he going to do with his Terrible Towel and black-and-gold gear?

“Donate it to Goodwill.”

Jabaal Sheard, the second highest Pitt draft pick was not as quick on the uptake — or just wanted to tweak the locals of his new team.

To make things even more interesting, Sheard revealed on Twitter yesterday that he is a lifelong Miami Heat fan.

Sheard asked if he could still be a Heat fan and received a ton of responses, many of which can’t be repeated here.  The best advice though, came from the Browns’ latest quick study, Joe Haden.  Haden quickly tweeted to Sheard, “Please my brother don’t talk about the Heat!  Soft spot 4 Cleveland!”  Sheard seemed to learn quickly and left the topic at “No longer a Heat fan.  Can I be a DWade fan?”

It sounded strange to hear someone say they had been a Heat fan their entire life.  Then it occurred to me just how old I am and just how young he is.  While a lot of us remember the Heat expanding into the league, Sheard was born in 1989, right around the time of the Miami Heat’s inaugural season.

Cleveland blog WFNY, likes the picks and believes that Sheard could be a starter right away.

As you would expect, there was excitement in the Sheard household when it was announced. Not to mention a surprise.

Sheard said a cheer swept through the room when his named was announced by Browns legendary wide receiver Paul Warfield. Sheard said he estimated getting hugs from 30 people. “Including dudes,” he said.

“It was exciting. Everybody here thought I was going a little later, but I thought I could have been a first-round pick. I feel I am equivalant to those guys ahead of me.

“I am real confident in myself in what I can do. But it’s a blessing to picked in the second round.”

Sheard also indicated that the reason for the fight involved helping an unnamed younger teammate in a scrape. Someday we may know who it was, but apparently not yet.

Sorry, I dont feel bad for Hyno. Hes a terrific player but he never should have left. Either he got some bad advice or just ignored good advice. I hope it works out for him but he really screwed up.

Comment by Coach Ditka 05.05.11 @ 1:20 pm

All of the players we had drafted and all of the others that will end up in an NFL camp just shows once again how DW continued to underachieve in a weak conference. Hopefully Graham can reverse that trend.

Comment by Coach Ditka 05.05.11 @ 1:22 pm

Coach D, sure in hindsight it may seem like a mistake for Hyno to leave … just like Romeus’ decision to stay seems like a mistake now.

Comment by Chuck Morris 05.05.11 @ 1:39 pm

were nix and gary seniors or did they opt to leave early and why did they if they did?

Comment by HeelHater 05.05.11 @ 2:12 pm

Nate Nix, Ricky Gary? Really? I don’t think they will get signed.

Comment by Tony C 05.05.11 @ 2:26 pm

Nix and Gary were both seniors. Apparently Nix got some interest prior to the draft because of his ability/willingness to play special teams, so he may get picked up. I have a hard time seeing Gary making it into an NFL camp, but stranger things have happened…I guess…

Comment by Pantherman13 05.05.11 @ 3:18 pm

Baldwin didn’t live the charmed life that Fitz did, meaning he wasn’t the ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings when they had Chris Carter, Jake Reed and Randy Moss. And he had strong armed Rod Rutherford, who threw 37 TD passes (tying Marino’s All-Time Pitt record) throwing passes to him his two years at Pitt. Whereas Baldwin had weak armed Bill Stull and even weaker armed you know who. Both of whom had trouble connecting on deep sideline patterns, especially the current QB. So…….I’ll wait to see what Baldwin does in the NFL.

Comment by melvinbennett 05.05.11 @ 4:37 pm

That would be Marino’s All-Time single season TD pass record of 37 TD passes which is shared with Rod Rutherford. I believe Rod threw like 60 TD passes in his 2 years at starting QB and holds the single season passing yardage record for Pitt at over 3600 yards passing. Great player and great athlete.

Comment by melvinbennett 05.05.11 @ 4:44 pm

Why they never turned him loose and run with the ball when the opportunity presented itself, still is mind boggling.

Comment by melvinbennett 05.05.11 @ 4:51 pm

The FB from UConn was picked in the 4th round well abobe his heralded backfield mate Todman (remember him?) But I believe the fact that Sherman has had 62 special teams tackles played a major factor in him getting drafted so high … don’t believe Hyno played on special teams except for maybe F blcoking.

Comment by wbb 05.05.11 @ 4:59 pm

Wasn’t it Rod who scored the winning TD as a receiver vs. PSU?

Comment by steve 05.05.11 @ 5:15 pm

Gary Williams just announced his retirement at Maryland. Cue the “Jamie Dixon is the leading candidate” hand-wringing in 3…2…1…

Comment by ECH 05.05.11 @ 7:23 pm

actually, I just read that Mike Brey was considered a frontrunner .. he is a Bethesda MD native and a former assistant at Duke

Comment by wbb 05.05.11 @ 8:53 pm

No CFL teams looking for a traditional fullback, eh?

Comment by Brian in BK 05.05.11 @ 10:21 pm

Contrary to public belief, Hynoski would have fit into this new offense as a “3-back”. He perhaps would have touched the ball more often than he had in any of his last three years.

Comment by Reed 05.06.11 @ 7:22 am

I live in Baltimore and the Maryland grads are talking up Dixon and Miller. In fact, the Balt Sun’s lists of candidates includes Brey, Wright, Dixon, Miller, Smart, Stevens.

Comment by matt42 05.06.11 @ 10:33 am

And now it’s national…

link to

Comment by Big Bill 05.06.11 @ 11:52 am

I think Hynoski would be a great fit for the steelers ground game & Tomlin should seriously consider him as a free agent. Also great news for Pitt getting Gateways’ Felder – of all the high profile players on that team 2 years ago I thought Felder was the best !

Comment by ROCKY20 05.06.11 @ 12:34 pm

To continue with the basketball theme, anybody else see the article on Jaylen Bond from yesterday? Said he’s still considering Pitt: link to

Comment by merlin 05.06.11 @ 2:30 pm

merlin, I’m wondering if he was following Coach Dixon’s suggestion of going to a prep school to develop his skills because it would have alleviated the issue of being over the schollie limit. But since JJ Richardson left unexpectedly, maybe it was decided he can hone his skills by just practicing against the varsity while redshirting at Pitt .. so to speak.

matt42, it would seem that Smart would currently be the hot prospect for the DC area right now .. you can never say never but while this is a very good HC opportunity, I don’t necessarily seem as Jamie’s dream job

Comment by wbb 05.06.11 @ 3:08 pm

Maryland would be a lateral move for Jamie. Why would he do that? Unless its all about money…which it isn’t with Jamie.

Comment by TX Panther 05.06.11 @ 3:13 pm

Gary Parrish is now reporting that Jamie Dixon is not interested in the Maryland job, but Sean Miller will meet with Maryland officials and may be interested.

link to

Comment by Pantherman13 05.06.11 @ 5:20 pm

I’m looking for someone to start a rumor. Ashton Gibbs’ brother, Sterling, is supposed to be a better player than Ashton. Sterling committed to Maryland. Now with Williams leaving Maryland, what will Sterling Gibbs be doing?

Comment by BigGuy 05.06.11 @ 6:58 pm

BigGuy see attached

link to

Comment by wbb 05.06.11 @ 8:02 pm

wbb, I knew that I could count on you. Thanks for the link.

Comment by BigGuy 05.07.11 @ 12:35 am

Sterling Gibbs will go with Ashton Gibbs to Europe if Ashton doesn’t get NBA drafted!Ashton Gibbs isn’t comming back Panther Fans! Moreover, imo Jamie Dixon could go to Maryland and donate alot of money to the Maggie Fund! Can anyone say Call that Butler coach up!!!!

Comment by RandyRandyTime 05.07.11 @ 8:55 am

actually, I heard that Miller is going to Maryland, Dixon is going to jump at his second chance for a great deal at Arizona (and be near his dad), Birch will recommit to UConn, S Gibbs will go to Rutgers and Pitt will have to choose among Herrion, Lombardi, Antigua or S Greenberg for its next HC

Comment by wbb 05.07.11 @ 9:25 am

Dixon will go no were Miller will stay at AZ Maryland is not the big deal it used to be.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.07.11 @ 10:56 am

I like rumors, especially if they are specifically made up to create a laugh. I am trying to choose between wbb and RandyRandyTime.

Comment by BigGuy 05.07.11 @ 1:24 pm

Perhaps Miller isn’t that thrilled living in the Desert of Tuscon(maybe he didn’t take Spanish in HS or at Pitt), not exactly Scottsdale is it.
If he’s willing to listen to Maryland, he’d be more than willing to listen to Pitt. This is maybe an east coast(Pa) guy wanting out of Little Mexico, not hard to imagine at all.
Pitt might be noticing the declining attendance like the blog Chas has up and the overall ‘hit a wall’ atmosphere that is pervasive at Pitt.

Comment by melvinbennett 05.07.11 @ 5:44 pm

Maybe Pitt & Arizona can swap coaches. Another former Pittsburgher use to be the head coach of Arizona’s football team so maybe this will work.
We can throw in SP to conclude the deal. (or maybe that would kill it)

Comment by melvinbennett 05.07.11 @ 5:48 pm

here you go .. the news we wanted to here

link to

and not a rumor (hopefully)

Comment by wbb 05.07.11 @ 7:16 pm


Comment by wbb 05.07.11 @ 7:36 pm

Mel-humor sometimes doesn’t translate well in these types of forums so I have to ask…are you serious? You really want to run Dixon out of town?

Comment by Pantherman13 05.07.11 @ 8:03 pm

If it’s true about Ashton then that is fantastic news. There would have been many a head scratching games trying to find offense. Losing two of the best shooting guards in The Big East is a blow that would spiral most teams to the bottom tier of the league.

OMG, Journey is coming to Columbus!

Comment by Panthoor 05.07.11 @ 8:39 pm

Ashton Gibbs, G, Pittsburgh: “With Jamie Dixon, you always put yourself in position to win. He needs to really work on his game, do the summer circuit, go to the big shoe company camps and work out in front of NBA guys. There’s no rush for him to come out. In my opinion, it would be a crazy decision. His lack of running a team hurts him a little bit. He needs to definitely stay another year. I doubt he’d be drafted. He could have some good workouts and anything could happen, but I think he’s an afterthought to some of these teams. Why draft him at 52 when I can draft a European with some upside, stash him over there?”
Where he’ll go if he stays in the draft: 45 to undrafted

link to

Comment by BigGuy 05.07.11 @ 9:17 pm

melvin………..they couldn’t run rutherford his senior yr because they bulked him up so much. he was a statue by that time. whatever mobility he had as a HS player was gone………..

Comment by hugh green 05.07.11 @ 9:35 pm

Hugh – Shouldn’t you be out chasing Fins?

Comment by boubacar aw 05.07.11 @ 10:14 pm

Panthoor, it’s true as Dixon relaes the folowing statemeent yesterday and if you read the entire article (linked below) you’ll see that as expected, Dixon is not interested in the Maryland position.

I am extremely excited that Ashton will return to the court for us next year,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “Ashton is a tremendous representative for the University of Pittsburgh. He embodies everything you want in a student-athlete and has always made decisions for the right reasons. This is just another example.”

Read more: Gibbs will return to Pitt next season – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review link to

Comment by wbb 05.08.11 @ 6:52 am

Miller to Maryland has to be about one thing: money. Programs are equal, if not UofA is better. Location-wise, I’d take a pay CUT to work in Tucson…

Comment by Jason 05.08.11 @ 7:20 am

Gibbs makes the right decision for himself and his school, whew. That just put us back in the top instead of the middle of the big east. Maybe this is the year in the Big dance, without him no chance.

Hard to figure why Miller would leave Arizona so soon. Love to see him beat Duke and NC on a regular basis.

Comment by gc 05.08.11 @ 8:56 am

Miller not interested in MD

Comment by steve 05.08.11 @ 10:54 am

I spent three weeks very recently in Tucson. Believe me, they LOVE Sean Miller out there. He has and ys doing a credible job with the Wildcats. Pitt Loves Jamie Dixon and he is doing a bang-up job with the Panthers who are building an elite program. The BEST is yet to be for both Pitt and the Tusonians. So, I suggest the pundits and bloggers seek other areas for a story. Rev. George in Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.08.11 @ 4:40 pm

Don’t think Miller will ever leave AZ unless the Pitt job opens up. They just signed him to an extension.

On the news front, Yahoo/Rivals did a story on the Top combined sports(hoops & football) schools since the BCS era started. The Blue & Gold finished in the Top 20 at #17 ! With the hoops team factoring in about 75% of the total score.

Funny comment though, suggesting had the Panther hoops team lived up to some it’s seedings Pitt would have done better. While somewhat true, had the football team won a few more games and been to a few more bowls, we would have finished closer to the Top 10. Hopefully TG can get that accomplished on the grid iron.

Comment by melvinbennett 05.08.11 @ 5:37 pm

Let’s try that link again:

link to

Comment by melvinbennett 05.08.11 @ 5:38 pm

2 years ago we were a botched extra point and a five footer away from making a BCS Bowl and a Final 4. This past year we tied for the lague championship in football and lost in the last second to both BB championship finalists.

I do think we’re closer to the top in BB than FB, but one of these days, we have to knock down the door.

Comment by wbb 05.08.11 @ 7:29 pm


Comment by RandyRandyTime 05.09.11 @ 9:06 pm

I really really really hope that Dorian Bell is not coming to Pitt:

link to

Why would they want another Elijah Fields? I thought one main reason TG was here was to have players with discipline after all the DW problems.

Comment by Pitt Is It! 05.10.11 @ 10:35 am

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