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Former Pitt WR Bub Means Describes Being Picked by New Orleans Saints



Pitt wideout Bub Means gets congratulated by his teammates on the sideline after scoring against Virginia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now.)

Bub Means wasn’t an NFL Draft prospect this time last year. He likely wasn’t a consideration after a couple of games last year. But he changed that with a handful of excellent performances down the stretch last season.

Means — a big, strong wideout from Lovejoy, Ga. — turned it on over the second half of the season, performed well over the offseason and was selected in the fifth round of the 2024 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. It’s certainly not what he expected.

“As far as the Saints, no, I really didn’t have a lot of contact with the Saints,” Means told Saints News Network. “It was a surprise when they gave me the call. I got a call from New Orleans. I’m looking at the phone like, man. Ain’t no way. I got on the phone. It’s really the Saints.”

But despite the unexpected moment, Means couldn’t have been happier that his name was announced by the Saints.

“Man, that was a surreal moment,” Means told SNN. “I was holding back tears when I got the call. I can’t wait to come out there and contribute to the team, to the win, to the culture. It was just a blessing. I can’t even explain it.”

Means arrived at Pitt ahead of the 2022 season following a season at Tennessee in which the Vols wanted to use him as a defensive back and a couple of seasons at Louisiana Tech. His two seasons in Pittsburgh were certainly a journey.

Means entered the offseason as a borderline prospect, one that wasn’t a lock to declare for the draft, but once he did, he quickly made the most of his opportunities. He put in a strong week at the Shrine Bowl in January, impressed at the NFL Combine in February and cemented his status at Pitt’s Pro Day in March. It was the combine showing that stood out.

Means legged out a 4.49 40-yard dash in his first attempt at the combine, and he came out even faster on his second attempt with an impressive 4.43 — one of the top marks among wide receivers in attendance.

He measured in at 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, and he has 33 2/8-inch arms, 10 1/8-inch hands and a 79 3/8-inch wingspan. It’s exactly what Means needed to showcase to NFL personnel, a well-built frame with above-average physical traits. He also put in a 39.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot-7-inch broad jump in the drills portion of his experience.

It’s been important for Means to showcase who he is for NFL teams and show that he isn’t just a one-trick pony when it comes to his penchant for deep ball touchdowns.

“This year, a lot of my touchdowns came down the field,” Means told Pittsburgh Sports Now at the Shrine Bowl. “So, I just felt like I had a great opportunity to show the scouts, show the NFL that I could make plays down the field and create separation down the field and ultimately just get in the end zone and help the team win.

“I’m just out here to prove myself. I always feel like I have something to prove. I always feel like I have something to work on, so I’m just out here to show the scouts I’m a ball player, I’m a competitor, I work hard and I’m gonna get the job done.”

Obviously, the football aspect is paramount. Means, who grew leaps and bounds during his time at Pitt, had to show that he could compete — and thrive — at the next level. And it was certainly an up-and-down experience on the football field during his time as a Panther.

He hauled in 68 receptions for 1,122 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and eight touchdowns during his Pitt career, and he broke out as the leading receiver last season. It was a tale of two halves last season. He caught 41 balls for 721 yards and six touchdowns last season, but 650 yards and all six touchdowns came over the final eight games — averaging 81 receiving yards per game. And after an 11-target, 0-catch performance against Cincinnati in Week 2, many questioned whether or not Means had what it took to cut it at Pitt. He didn’t.

“This is football so at the end of the day, I’m a competitor,” Means said. “So, that game did bother me a little bit, but it didn’t bother me like, it’s gonna shock my confidence. No, I went back to work. That made me want to get better; that made me want to get back in the lab. It made me hungry. I don’t like when everything goes my way all the time because life isn’t like that, sometimes you need games like that to wake you up.”

Means, and Pitt as a whole, had a tough game against Cincinnati. And there was no instant fix. He had just six catches for 71 yards through the first four games of the season. He found the answer, though, even through three different quarterbacks, he found the answer. He hit the 71-yard mark in all but one of his next eight games.

Means showcased a lot of potential down the stretch, serving as one of the best wide receivers in the ACC, and he banked on that showing to earn a place in the NFL. He has the raw potential. It’s about showing the NFL he can do it now.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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