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Pitt Football Well Represented on NFL Opening Rosters



Former Pitt defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

The NFL’s cut-down day Tuesday wasn’t kind to a few of Pitt’s recent NFL hopefuls, but there are more than a few major names who made the cut.

A number of former Pitt stars have made NFL active rosters across the league, and while a majority of those who were cut will certainly receive practice squad opportunities, there are quite a few Pitt stars in the NFL.

If my calculations are correct, there were 19 former Pitt stars who earned spots on active rosters this season.

Aaron Donald, a seven-time first-team All-Pro, three-time Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl champion, is Pitt’s greatest recent alumni. He’s firmly in the running for the greatest defensive player of all time, and even though he’s rising in age, he’s still one of the most feared linemen in the NFL.

Kenny Pickett might be the most beloved Pitt star in recent memory, and after a very, very strong preseason, he’s in line for a breakout sophomore campaign with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Damar Hamlin, who is firmly in the lead for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year honor, and Dane Jackson are key cogs in the Bills defense. The same goes for K’Waun Williams and Damarri Mathis in Denver.

Calijah Kancey, who has earned starting duties as a rookie, and SirVocea Dennis are thriving in Tampa. And Izzy Abanikanda and Carter Warren have made an impact in New York.

In fact, there are a good number of former Pitt stars who have cracked NFL rosters this season.

James Conner — Arizona Cardinals running back

Damar Hamlin — Buffalo Bills safety

Dane Jackson — Buffalo Bills cornerback

Cal Adomitis — Cincinnati Bengals long snapper

Tyler Boyd — Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver

Damarri Mathis — Denver Broncos cornerback

K’Waun Williams — Denver Broncos cornerback

Aaron Donald — Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle

Patrick Jones II — Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker

Brian O’Neill — Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle

Jason Pinnock — New York Giants cornerback

Israel Abanikanda — New York Jets running back

Carter Warren — New Yoek Jets offensive tackle

Jordan Whitehead — New York Jets safety

Avonte Maddox — Philadelphia Eagles cornerback

Kenny Pickett — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback

SirVocea Dennis — Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker

Calijah Kancey — Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle

Rashad Weaver — Tennessee Titans outside linebacker

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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