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Sunday November 23 2014
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412 Draft Guide: Local Prospects

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While there are no first-rounders coming out of Pitt, Penn State or WVU this year, all three schools will likely have several players drafted before all is said and done in New York this month. Here's a look at where local college prospects might land in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Day Two Prospects (Rounds 2-3)
WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pitt:
A polarizing prospect, Aliquippa's Baldwin is blessed with elite size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), good hands and home run-hitting ability. But teams question his separation skills and coachability. Still, a club could call his name early on Day 2.

OT Jason Pinkston, Pitt: His footwork could improve, but Pitt had a 1,000 yard rusher in each of Pinkston's three years as a starter. The Baldwin graduate packs a punch and is surprisingly agile. Pinkston figures to move to right tackle at the next level.

DE Jabaal Sheard, Pitt: Strong enough to bull rush offensive tackles and swift enough to play linebacker in a 3-4 system, Sheard's skills make him an intriguing prospect despite last summer's legal issues.

C Stefen Wisniewski, PSU: The Central Catholic product and All-American is expected to shift from guard back to center in the pros. Wisniewski's intelligence, versatility and bloodlines (father Leo and uncle Steve were standout linemen) make him an NFL-ready talent.

Day Three Prospects (Rounds 4-7)
SS/OLB Dom DeCicco, Pitt:
The Thomas Jefferson standout split the season between safety and linebacker, leading the Panthers in tackles and tying for first in picks. DeCicco's 4.64 40-yard dash time won't ease worries that he lacks NFL speed, though.

RB Noel Devine, WVU: Devine possesses electric speed and shiftiness that can make defenders sure that they have cornered him end up grasping at thin air. at the very least, Devine could be a special teams dynamo. He's undersized (5-foot-7, 175 pounds), however, and a toe injury that held him back in 2010 will amplify concerns about his long-term durability.

C Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock: The Seneca Valley grad and pride of The Rock earned a Senior Bowl invite due to his strength and relentless style.

FB Henry Hynoski, Pitt: A star high school running back who became Lewis' battering ram at Pitt, Hynoski was a surprise underclassman entry but could pique interest late with his 260-pound frame.

OLB Thomas Keiser, Stanford: North Allegheny alumnus had a decorated college career, but he pulled a hammy on Pro Day and may regret declaring as a junior.

RB Dion Lewis, Pitt: After a stunning freshman season during which he racked up more yards than any Pitt running back not named Tony Dorsett, Lewis' production tailed off as a sophomore. He didn't get seriously dinged up in college, but NFL clubs are still wary of a 'back standing 5-foot-7 and weighing under 200 pounds.

DT Chris Neild, WVU: While his tools don't overwhelm, Neild is high-motor run-stuffer who gets under the pads of opposing lineman. He anchored a suffocating WVU defense that ranked in the top three nationally.

DE Greg Romeus, Pitt: Romeus is a lottery ticket pick: he's a play-making pass rusher with 3-4 linebacker possibilities if healthy, but his 2010 season was marred by lower back and right knee surgeries. His medicals and workouts in front of scouts could drastically change his draft status.

RB Evan Royster, PSU: The Lions all-time leading rusher has long been dogged by scouts for a lack of burst, and his 4.65 40-yard dash at the Combine did little to quell those concerns. A team valuing production over stopwatch times should take a flyer late in the draft.

WR Jock Sanders, WVU: Sanders hauled in more career receptions than another other Mountaineer, yet he's on the fringe of most teams' draft boards. At 5-foot-6 and 175 pounds, Sanders' best bet at making an NFL roster comes by utilizing his speed as a return man.

S Robert Sands, WVU: The 6-4 Sands is a punishing hitter who takes pleasure in making receivers pay for going over the middle. But his height might be a detriment -- it takes him a while to change directions. Sands has durability concerns as well, as his jarring hits have taken a toll on his shoulder.

OLB J.T. Thomas, WVU: Ultra-athletic and unafraid of contact, Thomas could be a special teams star. His odds of developing into a starter are longer, as he lacks size (6-foot-1, 235 pounds) and can be aggressive to a fault, getting out of position in the process.

CB Darrin Walls, Notre Dame: Woodland Hills' Walls didn't live up to his blue chip recruiting status, but someone could spare a late pick on his athleticism.  

Hopeful Free Agents
DT Scooter Berry, WVU
TE Brett Brackett, PSU
OG Elias Eliades, PSU
CB Ricky Gary, Pitt
OLB Bani Gbadyu, PSU
S Sidney Glover, WVU
CB Brandon Hogan, WVU
OG Eric Jobe, WVU
C Alex Karabin, Pitt
ILB Patrick Lazear, WVU
DT Ollie Ogbu, PSU
WR Graham Zug, PSU

This is not a great time for the National Football League. America's richest and most successful sports league is being taken to task by everyone from media to protest groups to longtime fans.
Editor's DeskFeature One
When the Penguins dealt Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the No. 8 overall pick on Draft Day 2012, they were coming off a string of disappointing playoff finishes.
Blue LineFeature Two
The six western Pennsylvania quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, George Blanda and Johnny Unitas -- will be honored in Pittsburgh next summer.
Feature ThreePure Steel
From 2004 to 2011, the Steelers led the league or finished second in fewest points allowed per game five times. Those squads were marshaled by Steelers greats such as nose tackle Casey Hampton and receiver Hines Ward, who recently made headlines for calling his old team's defense “soft.”
Feature FourPure Steel
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