Connect with us

Pitt Football

NFL Draft Profiles: The 2023 NFL Draft on the Horizon for Pitt’s Aspiring Pros



If you don’t look forward to the NFL Draft like Christmas morning, I don’t know what to tell you. Aside from the Super Bowl, and maybe that first Thursday Night Football game, the NFL Draft is one of the biggest draws of the year.

It’s a huge couple of days for NFL and college football fans alike. It’s a big couple of day for Pitt, too, once again.

The 2022 NFL Draft was headlined by Kenny Pickett’s first round selection, staying home with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the 2023 NFL Draft once again offers the opportunity for a Panther to be selected in the first round.

Pickett and Damarri Mathis were selected in last year draft, and Pitt may double or even triple the number of draftees this year.

Calijah Kancey is projected as a first-round pick as it stands, and Carter Warren, Israel Abanikanda, Brandon Hill and Habakkuk Baldonado all have a good chance of being drafted on the second or third day of the draft.

Erick Hallett, Jared Wayne, Tylar Wiltz, Marcus Minor, Johnny Petrishen and a few others are borderline NFL Draft picks who will be selected in the late rounds or make their way onto NFL rosters as undrafted free agents.

PSN has followed the draft cycle for all of Pitt’s draft prospects, as highlighted below:

Calijah Kancey

Kancey has elevated his draft stock all offseason, running the fastest 40-yard dash time for a defensive lineman at the NFL Combine in two decades and putting together an explosive performance at Pitt’s Pro Day.

I expect Kancey — who did not take any Top-30 pre-draft meetings — to be selected in the first round.

Doubt Calijah Kancey At Your Own Risk, He’ll Continue to Prove You Wrong

‘I Just Want to be Myself’: Calijah Kancey is Paving His Own Path Forward

Calijah Kancey Ready to Prove Undersized Defensive Tackles Can Thrive in NFL

Calijah Kancey Runs Fastest 40 Time for Defensive Lineman Since 2000

Israel Abanikanda

Abanikanda couldn’t run at the NFL Combine, but he certainly did well at Pitt’s Pro Day. He was fast, explosive and exciting. He’s also still just 20 years old.

He’s a running back who doesn’t have elite agility or pass-catching chops, but despite that, he’s still one of the running backs in the draft. A mid-round selection, third or fourth round, appears to be up his alley.

More Horsepower: Israel Abanikanda Once Again Proves He’s a Top RB at Pitt’s Pro Day

Dorsett, McCoy, Conner: Israel Abanikanda Is Pitt’s Next NFL Running Back

Carter Warren

It wasn’t the senior season that Warren wanted, as he missed most of it with a torn meniscus, but he’s a big, reliable left tackle who should have a lengthy NFL career in some capacity.

I think he’s another mid-round guy.

Carter Warren’s Pursuit of the NFL Features One More Stop in Pittsburgh

SirVocea Dennis

Not that it needed any confirmation, but Dennis is one of the smartest players in the NFL Draft. And he’s been busy with Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and Pro Day appearances.

He wasn’t able to compete at the Combine after a minor injury at the Senior Bowl, but he blew testing numbers out of the water at Pro Day. Another mid-round guy here.

LB SirVocea Dennis Impresses Scouts with Stellar Performance at Pitt Pro Day

Positional Versatility Helps SirVocea Dennis Stand Out at NFL Combine

Brandon Hill

It would be easy to say that Kancey was the biggest winner at the NFL Combine, but Hill’s blazing 40-yard dash (fastest among all safeties in attendance) and elite testing firmly moved him onto NFL radars.

He didn’t test at Pro Day, since he didn’t need to, and I expect him to be a Day 3 selection.

How Pitt Prepared Brandon Hill for the Opportunity to Make the Jump to the NFL

Brandon Hill Clocks Fastest 40 Time for Safety at the NFL Combine

Habakkuk Baldonado

Baldonado has just been very, very solid in everything he’s done this offseason. He was excellent at the Shrine Bowl, tested and talked well at the NFL Combine and followed up with another strong showing at Pro Day.

There’s been NFL interest all offseason, and he should be a Day 3 selection.

The Most Interesting Man in the Draft: Habakkuk Baldonado’s Path to the NFL Began by Chance

Thanks to Pitt, Habakkuk Baldonado Feels Prepared to Continue Defying the Odds

Jared Wayne

I don’t think Wayne will be drafted over the three-day-long draft, but he should be on a roster later this spring. He’s big, sure-handed and productive.

Inside Jared Wayne’s Quiet Confidence: Drafted or Not, the NFL is the Goal

Pro Day

There were 14 players at Pitt’s Pro Day last month, and while all 14 didn’t participate, it gave guys like Wayne, Hallett, Wiltz, Petrishen, Marcus Minor, Owen Drexel and Gabe Houy the chance to compete for a shot one last time.

WATCH: Reaction From Highly Successful Day at Pitt’s 2023 Pro Day

Biggest Winners From a Very Successful Pitt Pro Day

Pitt Pro Day: The Perfect Chance to Show Stars Don’t Matter, Development Does

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Like Pittsburgh Sports Now on Facebook!
Send this to a friend