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Vukovcan: This Year’s Draft Success A Big Win for Pitt Football Program



Despite not having a game this weekend, the Pitt football program picked up a big win off the field.

Earning a college degree is the top priority for a coach when bringing players into their program. Right behind that is developing as many of those players as possible to be in a position to get drafted and hopefully play in the NFL.

Since taking over at Pitt, Pat Narduzzi has consistently been able to do both. Coming into Thursday, 11 players have been selected in the NFL Draft during the Narduzzi Era and that number rose to 17 following the 2021 Draft.

There’s no other way to put it except that this was a phenomenal last few days for Pitt football, the players that were drafted and Pat Narduzzi and his coaches.

The six players drafted are the most for Pitt since 2004, the five defensive selections were their most since 1988 and they had more players drafted than any other program in the ACC.

Here’s one more statistic to chew on. Schools with the most players drafted this year:

  • 10 Players: Alabama, Ohio State
  • 9 Players: Georgia, Notre Dame
  • 8 Players: Michigan, Florida
  • 7 Players: LSU
  • 6 Players: Pitt, Penn State, Kentucky

You think Narduzzi and his staff will be bringing this accomplishment up while recruiting over the next year? This was a tremendous accomplishment and another sign that Pitt football is headed in the right direction.

High school players want to go to a program that can develop them to get to the NFL and while Pitt’s yearly win total and attendance are a work in progress, the success they’re having getting players to the league can’t be disputed.

One other thing that needs to be pointed out regarding Pitt’s outstanding weekend. Getting six players drafted is obviously impressive but what is even more impressive is the type of player/recruit that got selected.

Unlike every program that was listed above aside from probably Kentucky, Pitt wasn’t getting four and five-star players drafted. This is not to take away from those players because not every highly rated recruit is guaranteed to have success and they had to put in the work to achieve this life long dream.

That being said, aside from Damar Hamlin, none of the other five Pitt players selected entered college as blue-chip recruits.

*Patrick Jones was a 2-star recruit that turned into a All-American and eventually a 3rd round pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

*Rashad Weaver was a 3-star recruit that signed with Pitt on National Letter of Intent Day after being dropped by Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. Four years and a major knee surgery later, Weaver developed into a All-American and a 4th round pick of the Tennessee Titans.

*Jason Pinnock wasn’t viewed or talked about by many as a draft prospect. Fortunately he didn’t listen to the experts and developed into a 5th round pick of the New York Jets. Keep in mind, Pinnock only had three Division I offers before signing with Pitt (Boston College and UConn).

*Jimmy Morrissey is the best story of them all as he went from being a walk-on, to a Pitt team captain and now a draft pick of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Hats off and a tip of the cap to Narduzzi and the entire Pitt football program for this tremendous accomplishment of being a big part of helping these six players along with the handful of players that signed with various NFL teams as undrafted free agents.

It’s not hard to think that–if the winning becomes consistent–this could become a yearly event for Pitt.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Krackerjack Kid
Krackerjack Kid
2 years ago

That is great and all, but now Narduzzi needs to parlay that into more than 8 wins.

Big Time
Big Time
2 years ago

Pitt actually had seven players drafted this year, six on defense and one on offense.

Pitt Fan in White Oak
Pitt Fan in White Oak
2 years ago

Pitt evaluates and coaches their defensive players very well. However, to ascend from mediocrity, Pitt needs to figure out things on the offensive side.

As Coach Narduzzi’ said on 10-19-15:,
“You can have a talented quarterback with a bad play-caller and make him look bad. We’ve seen that around the country, some closer than others.”

2 years ago

H2P ….. let’s hope this really helps the program, albeit probably not this year.

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