Critics of the Pitt football program have a couple common talking points they use when getting into a yearly debate.
Two items that even the loyalist Panther fan can’t defend is the size of crowds at Heinz Field and the yearly win total. For the most part, Pitt is able to reach the seven or eight wins but it has been a struggle getting to the next level of nine or even ten wins.
However, Pitt supporters have an ace in the hole when it comes to this seemingly endless debate.
While big crowds and bowl games might be nice, most high school players have one objective and that’s playing at the highest level which is something the Pitt Panther football program affords kids the opportunity to do more than most. Pitt football prepares players for the National Football League and that was proven again on Tuesday when teams finalized their 53-man rosters.
Former Pitt starts Rashad Weaver, Patrick Jones, Damar Hamlin and Jason Pinnock received word that they survived NFL Cutdown Day and have made an NFL roster. That means the 17 former Pitt players are starting the season on a 53-man roster. This number does not include players that are on a team’s practice squad.
FORMER PITT PLAYERS ON NFL 53-MAN ROSTERS
Damar Hamlin, Safety, Buffalo Bills (Rookie)
Rashad Weaver, Defensive End, Tennessee Titans (Rookie)
Patrick Jones, Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings (Rookie)
Jason Pinnock, Cornerback, NY Jets (Rookie)
Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle, Los Angeles Rams, 3x NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 7x Pro Bowl selection, signed 6-year, $135 million extension in 2018
James Conner, Running Back, Arizona Cardinals, 2,300 career rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, Pro Bowl selection (2018)
Dane Jackson, Cornerback, Buffalo Bills, Made the Bills after being a 7th round pick in 2020
Jordan Whitehead, Safety, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 219 career tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks, Super Bowl Champion (2020)
Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals, 321 career receptions and 19 touchdowns, signed 4-year, $43 million extension in 2019
K’Waun Williams, Cornerback, San Francisco 49ers, Has been in NFL since 2014 despite being undrafted, 249 career tackles, 6 sacks and 3 interceptions
Brian O’Neill, Offensive Tackle, Minnesota Vikings, 2nd round pick in 2018
Qadree Ollison, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons, 5th round pick in 2019, 4 career rushing touchdowns
Avonte Maddox, Cornerback, Philadelphia Eagles, 4th round pick in 2018, 122 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1.5 sacks
Andy Lee, Punter, Arizona Cardinals, Has been in the league since 2004, 3x Pro Bowl selection
JP Holtz, Tight End, Chicago Bears, Has been in the league since 2016 and made it as an undrafted free agent, 7 career receptions for 91 yards
Jabaal Sheard, Defensive End, Miami Dolphins, 2nd round pick in 2011, 406 career tackles, 53 sacks, Super Bowl Champion
Nate Peterman, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders, 5th round pick in 2017