Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday night to observe the prospects playing in the Youngstown State, Pitt game.
The University of Pittsburgh has produced many outstanding prospects over the years, names that include but are not limited to Larry Fitzgerald, Darrelle Revis, Jeff Otah and LeSean McCoy. But amazingly the most intriguing player featured in this game doesn’t play for Pittsburgh; he lines up at wide receiver for Youngstown State; Donald Jones.
A former JUCO transfer from Lackawanna CC, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Jones has the size/speed combination that scouts require, and emerged on the scene last year for the Penguins catching 31 passes for 510 yards and seven touchdowns. Jones is physical at the line of scrimmage and gets off a jam well. He runs adequate routes, is quick in and out of his breaks and possesses strong hands. He’s still raw and is developing his intermediate game, but as a vertical threat he has deceptive speed and is able to make the proper adjustments when the ball is in the air. He has to improve as a blocker and get more involved when the ball is not in his hands; he has to do the little things. He lacks explosion and doesn’t possess elite speed.
The top prospect for the Panthers is tight end Nate Byham. At 6-foot-4, 258 pounds, Byham possesses outstanding technique as a blocker and excels in running situations. He gets off the line quickly and explodes into the opposition using his hands and balance to his advantage. Byham is still developing as a receiver and has to concentrate mostly on his route running. He has good hands and speed, but has to run crisper routes over the middle to become an offensive force. He hasn’t been utilized much as a receiver in Pitt’s offense during his two years as a starter, and only had 20 receptions for 260 yards and a touchdown last year. But, he has the potential to become a complete tight end and should emerge as a fourth round draft pick next April.
In addition to Byham, the Panthers have other prospects that will receive attention on Saturday night. Senior cornerback Aaron Berry is coming off a junior campaign where he registered 41 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, a sack and three interceptions. At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Berry is an undersized corner who has good ball skills and is feisty on the outside. He has a nose for the ball and is very instinctive. The Panthers have another undersized defender who plays a big role on defense in the trenches, defensive tackle Mick Williams. At 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, Williams plays with leverage and a high motor, and recorded 25 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks.Three underclassmen on Pittsburgh to keep an eye on are defensive end Greg Romeus, offensive tackle Jason Pinkston and safety Dom DeCicco.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.