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The 2017 NFL Draft is 4 days away and it should be a productive one for the Pitt football program.
By the close of the seventh round on Sunday, Pat Narduzzi’s team could have as many as seven players hear their names called during the draft.
Forget about things like uniform design, spring attendance or game day atmosphere, high school recruits are most interested in playing on Sundays and whether your program can help them do that.
Clearly, the Pitt football program is a vehicle to the NFL.
Aside from how many players will get drafted, another interesting question is whether Pitt’s neighbors on the South Side will turn a Panther into a Steeler?
Despite recently having players such as Tyler Boyd, Aaron Donald, TJ Clemmings, Jabaal Sheard, etc go high in the draft, the Steelers don’t have a history of drafting Pitt Panthers.
In fact, it’s been 16 years since the Steelers have drafted a Pitt Panther.
The last Pitt player drafted by the Steelers was cornerback Hank Poteat in the 3rd round back in 2000.
Before that it was Alex Van Pelt (1993), Tom Ricketts (1989), Jerry Olsavsky (1989), Bill Callahan (1986) and Sal Sunseri (1982).
If there’s any year that the Steelers will take the “hometown” kid this would be the year.
Would players such as Nathan Peterman, Dorian Johnson, Adam Bisnowaty, James Conner, Scott Orndoff, Ejuan Price or Ryan Lewis interest Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert?
Of that group, I’d say the two names with the best chances would be Orndoff and Conner because of a need at those positions.
Peterman and Johnson are players that will likely go high, possibly in the 1st or 2nd rounds. Bisnowaty is being projected as a 3rd or 4th round pick and I don’t see the Steelers using that high of pick on an offensive tackle.
Regardless, it will be interesting and should be a great weekend and recruiting tool for Narduzzi and Pitt.