One of the biggest recruiting pitches that a college football program can offer a prospective recruit is the ability to develop them in order to get them to the next level.
While wins, facilities and playing in a specific conference are influential recruiting tools, if you’re a talented player, you’re looking to see if a program has a track record of developing NFL talent. When examining Pat Narduzzi’s program, that is something that his coaching staff can legitimately dangle to high school recruits.
The 2020 NFL Draft gets underway this Thursday and the Pitt program will once again have the opportunity to have one of their former players hear his name gets called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Cornerback Dane Jackson, linebacker Kylan Johnson, wide receiver Maurice Ffrench are the three Panthers with the best chance of becoming a 2020 NFL Draft Pick.
Going back to the 2014 NFL Draft, here are the Pitt Panthers that have been drafted and where they’re currently playing.
2014 NFL DRAFT
DT Aaron Donald: 1st Round by the St. Louis Rams. Donald has been selected to six Pro Bowls in his six years in the league, has won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and has twice been named as the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2017/2018). Prior to the start of the 2019 season, Donald signed a 6-year, $135 million deal, $86 million of which was guaranteed and included a $40 million signing bonus.
QB Tom Savage: 4th Round by the Houston Texans. Savage played with the Texans from 2014 through 2017. Over the last two seasons, he’s bounced around between New Orleans, San Francisco, Cincinnati and last year with Detroit. Savage is currently a free agent.
WR Devin Street: 5th Round by the Dallas Cowboys. After sticking with the Cowboys thru the 2015 season, Street had short stints with New England (twice), Indianapolis, NY Jets and Houston. Street hasn’t been with an NFL team since the 2017 season.
2015 NFL DRAFT
OT T.J. Clemmings: 4th Round by the Minnesota Vikings. Clemmings is currently a free agent after being a part of the Chicago Bears organization last season. Prior to that, the big right tackle spent time with Oakland, Washington and the Minnesota Vikings. Injuries have plagued Clemmings throughout his NFL career.
2016 NFL DRAFT
WR Tyler Boyd: 2nd Round by the Cincinnati Bengals. Boyd is coming off his career season in the NFL as he became the Bengals top target with the absence of star A.J. Green. Despite not having a solid quarterback throwing to him, Boyd still caught 90 passes for 1,046 yards and 5 TD’s. Prior to last season, the Bengals rewarded Boyd with a 4-year, $43 million contract extension.
2017 NFL DRAFT
RB James Conner: 3rd Round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After having a breakout 2018 season in which he ran for 973 yards (4.5 yards/carry) in a part-time role, Conner 2019 season was marred by injuries. He’ll once again go into this season as the Steelers starter but needs to prove that he can stay healthy.
OG Dorian Johnson: 4th Round by the Arizona Cardinals. Despite being a 1st-Team college All-American, Johnson was not able to stick in the NFL, getting short stints with Arizona, Houston and Carolina. Johnson was a member of the DC Defenders of the XFL before they folded.
QB Nathan Peterman: 5th Round by the Buffalo Bills. After having a rocky and much publicized time with the Buffalo Bills, Peterman caught on last season with the Oakland Raiders. After having a solid training camp and receiving praise from Jon Gruden, Peterman was injured at the end of camp and spent the season on injured reserve. Last week, Peterman re-signed with the Raiders and will compete for a backup role.
OT Adam Bisnowaty: 6th Round by the NY Giants. Despite not carving out a permanent role with a specific team, Bisnowaty has been able to be employed by an NFL team over the last three seasons. The former Fox Chapel star has spent time with the NY Giants, Detroit, Carolina, Minnesota and last season with both Washington and Denver. Bisnowaty is currently a free agent.
LB Ejuan Price: 7th Round by the Los Angeles Rams. The former pass-rushing specialist with the Panthers was never able to translate that over to the NFL and is currently out of football.
2018 NFL DRAFT
OT Brian O’Neil: 2nd Round by the Minnesota Vikings: O’Neil has been one of the most consistent members of the Vikings offensive line and is currently their starting right tackle.
S Jordan Whitehead: 4th Round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following injuries in Tampa Bay’s secondary, Whitehead took over as Tampa Bay’s starting strong safety and in two seasons, has collected 111 tackles along with one interception.
CB Avonte Maddox: 4th Round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Maddox has worked hard to turn himself into a valuable member of the Eagles secondary and is their top nickleback. His presence was missed last season when he missed time with an injury. Maddox has carved out a nice role for himself and is on his way to having a long NFL career.
2019 NFL DRAFT
RB Qadree Ollison: 5th Round by the Atlanta Falcons. Ollison went to Falcons camp last season as a longshot to make the team because of a deep running back depth chart but was able to impress enough to earn a roster spot. While he didn’t get a ton of carries, Ollison made the most of them as he scored four touchdowns on just 22 carries in his rookie season.