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Tag:Pittsburgh Panthers
Posted on: November 9, 2010 6:07 pm
 

Pitt DE Greg Romeus near return to field

NFL scouts may finally get their chance to see Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus healthy this season.

The reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year has been out of the lineup since playing in the season opener against Utah on September 2nd. Back pain made Romeus a shadow of his former self in that contest. He underwent surgery to repair a disk in his lower back approximately two weeks later.  

Though Pitt head coach Dave Wannestadt informed the media that Romeus has been medically cleared to play, the former NFL head coach isn't likely to rush Romeus back onto the field -- especially with the Panthers' next game so soon. Pitt travels to play Connecticut on Thursday.

With only one game played in the past 11 months, Romeus won't be in true football shape and the Panthers are fortunate to have had Jabaal Sheard and junior Brandon Lindsey step up in their play since Romeus was sidelined.

Sheard leads the Big East with nine sacks and Lindsey is right behind him with eight -- the same number Romeus had in 2009.

When healthy, Romeus has proven himself to be one of the top defensive ends in the country. At 6-5, 268 pounds he has the prototypical height, length and strength that teams are looking for and is capable of contributing early in his pro career as a true three-down right end. Romeus' return to health is especially important due to the fact that he remains a relatively raw prospect. Romeus only played one season of football in high school.

Following the Connecticut game, the Panthers have three more regular season games this season. At 5-3, including 3-0 in the Big East thus far, the Panthers are only one win away from guaranteeing a bowl berth. The only undefeated team in the Big East, Pitt is the favorite to win the conference and play in a BCS game.

With as many as five more games left to scout Romeus this season, NFL teams should have ample opportunity to determine if he is back to full strength and worthy of high round consideration.




Posted on: September 23, 2010 6:30 pm
 

Who I'm scouting in tonight's Miami vs Pittsburgh

As two of the more talented teams in the country, there are plenty of reasons for NFL scouts to take special interest in tonight's showdown between ACC and Big East powers Miami and Pittsburgh, respectively.

The game lost a bit of its luster with the injury and subsequent back surgery for All-Big East Defensive Player of the Year Greg Romeus. It would have made for highly entertaining scouting had the defensive end matched up tonight against Miami left tackle, Orlando Franklin -- especially considering that Romeus would have had the benefit of the home crowd noise behind him.

Still, there is plenty of talent to focus on in this game.

DE Allen Bailey: Bailey is among the more versatile defensive linemen in the country. He's played every one of the four down positions for the Hurricanes over his career, though most view him as a left defensive end or traditional 4-3 defensive tackle. Bailey has not demonstrated the burst off the snap for scouts to consider moving him to the right side. He has enough power to play the five technique (3-4 DE), as well. With injuries along their front, Bailey may be asked to play inside a bit tonight. So far this year he has seven tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He is still looking for his first sack of the season.

OT Orlando Franklin: Though I do not believe he has the quickness or balance to remain on at left tackle in the NFL, Franklin has played well in his first year at the position this season. Franklin plays with the nastiness and physicality that you'd expect from a former guard. At 6-7, 318 pounds I feel he's one of the better right tackle prospects in the country.

ILB Colin McCarthy: Wearing the No. 44 that Dan Morgan made famous, this is the type of game in which McCarthy should excel. Athletic enough to contribute against the pass, McCarthy's instincts and physicality should help him rack up tackles against a Pitt offense still trying to get 2010 Big East Conference Rookie of the Year Dion Lewis on track. McCarthy currently leads the 'Canes with 16 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.

WR Leonard Hankerson: A highly touted prep prospect who struggled with drops early in career, Hankerson has finally developed into the playmaker his raw skills always made seem possible. The 6-3, 215 pound Hankerson with legitimate downfield speed has emerged as Jacory Harris' obvious favorite this season. In fact, not only does Hankerson have twice as many catches (13) as the next Miami receiver (LaRon Howard with six), he has nearly four times as many receiving yards (205) to any one else on the 'Canes roster (Travis Benjamin's 62 yards).

The 'Canes feature several underclassmen to keep an eye on, as well. Chief among them is junior cornerback Brandon Harris.

These are the Pittsburgh Panthers I'll be focusing on:

OT Jason Pinkston: Like Miami's Franklin, I don't believe that Pinkston has the agility and balance to remain at left tackle in the NFL, but he is nonetheless a talented prospect. How he performs against Miami's athletic front seven will go a long way in determining his ranking with the scouts I spoke to prior to this game.

DE Jabaal Sheard: Though Romeus gets most of the attention, Sheard has been Pittsburgh's most consistent pass rusher throughout their respective careers. Sheard, 6-3 and 265 pounds, doesn't possess elite size or speed, but has enough of a burst to gain the initial advantage and closes quickly. Lining up at left defensive end, Sheard has eight tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack, thus far. He leads the team with five QB hurries. Sheard could use a strong performance in this game to distance himself from his last newsworthy event -- an ugly incident in August in which Sheard was arrested after a fight in which he threw a man through a glass door.

SS/OLB Dom DeCicco: DeCicco is the Panthers' starting strong safety, but at 6-3, 225 pounds I question if he has the straight-line speed and agility necessary to remain at this position in the NFL. He's a physical and instinctive defender, however, who enjoyed great production last year (88 tackles, three interceptions, forced fumble). He's struggled with injuries this season and may not be 100% for this game.

Pitt, like Miami, features several underclassmen worth watching. The obvious top player to watch is junior wideout Jonathan Baldwin, considered by some to be the top wide receiver prospect in the country. The 6-5, 225 pound Baldwin will give Miami's talented, but young secondary quite a matchup problem. It will be interesting to see how well Baldwin does when matched up against Harris one on one.

The game begins at 7:30 EST and will be televised on ESPN.
Posted on: September 15, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Pitt DE Romeus to undergo back surgery Thursday

Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a disk in his lower back.

Head coach Dave Wannestadt, in a statement, said that he hoped to have Romeus back by the end of the season. It is unclear as to when Romeus originally hurt his back. He played, albeit ineffectively, in the season-opening loss to Utah. Romeus did not play last week against New Hampshire.

Part of Wannestadt's statement acknowledged that the surgery “is the best option for Greg, personally and athletically.”

Romeus, 6-5 and 268 pounds, is a signficant loss to the Panthers. Lining up opposite Jabaal Sheard, himself a legitimate NFL pass rush prospect, Romeus earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors last season with 43 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception and a blocked PAT.

Regardless of if Romeus is able to return to the field for the Panthers this season, his final draft status will ultimately hinge on the medical grades given by team doctors at the Scouting Combine.

When healthy, Romeus has proven to be among the country's better pass rush prospects.

Prior to the season Romeus had been graded by NFLDraftScout.com as a potential first round prospect. I had him going to the Seattle Seahawks with the sixth overall pick in my initial 2011 mock draft (which featured only seniors).



Posted on: September 3, 2010 12:36 am
 

Dareus suspension mars spectacular Opening Day

Today should be remembered for what was a brilliant opening day of the D-IA college football season.

National title contenders Ohio State and Miami looked every bit the part in dismantling weak opponents (Marshall, Florida Atlantic) on their way to next weekend's showdown in Columbus.

Mountain West Conference power Utah successfully protected their home turf for an eye-popping 18th consecutive game in upsetting No. 15 Pittsburgh.

And by putting up 41 points in their home opener, one can't help but wonder if this finally is the year that the Ol Ball Coach's South Carolina Gamecocks take the next step offensively.

There were so many reasons to be optimistic about the college football season.

And instead, Tuesday evening news broke that Alabama defensive Marcell Dareus, a potential All-American and first round prospect, was suspended for the first two games of the year. Dareus follows UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin as the latest casualty of the NCAA's investigation into players receiving innapropriate benefits from agents. He's arguably the best player on the best team in the country.

Forgive me for being pessimistic this evening of what should be the most optimistic day of the year.

But, after what has been a tumultuous offseason for college football, it would have been nice to enjoy it with the big news being the action on the field.

 
Posted on: July 20, 2010 12:01 pm
 

Pitt DE Sheard suspended indefinitely for fight

Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard, one half of the Panthers' set of future NFL pass rushers, has been suspended indefinitely from the team after an arrest early Sunday morning.

Sheard was arraigned Sunday morning on charges of aggravated assault, resisin ting arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. According to this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , Sheard ignored commands from police to stop fighting. He was hitten with a baton and pepper-sprayed and yet continued to fight 27-year old Edward Parker.

At one point Sheard picked up Parker and threw him through the glass door of La Fond Art and Photography Gallery. According to the article, Sheard walked into the gallery and continued to punch the bloodied Parker, who was laying on the ground.

Sheard, who has started each of the past 26 games for Dave Wannestadt's Panthers and was expected to contend for All-Big East accolades this season playing opposite Greg Romeus, is a legitimate NFL prospect. The 6-3, 255 pound defensive end posted 42 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and a team-high 12 quarterback pressures in 2009 and with opposing teams likely to focus much of their attention on Romeus, a potential Top 20 talent, the opportunity for Sheard to put up even better numbers in 2010 looked promising.

Scouts working for teams operating out of the 4-3 and 3-4 told me that each was quite interested in Sheard. They felt he had the combination of size, athleticism and natural pass rush skills to potentially fit into their scheme.

Instead, Sheard's NCAA and NFL future, for that matter, is very much in doubt.




Posted on: December 5, 2009 12:16 pm
 

Pike's performance against Pitt critical

Senior quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy earn most of the media attention and there are NFL scouts I've spoken to who believe one of them will be the first senior passer selected in the 2010 draft.

There are, however, a signficant number of scouts who feel Cincinnati's Tony Pike is the best senior prospect at the position.

To warrant this praise, he'll need to be impressive today in the snow, on the road at Pitt.

The undefeated Bearcats have not faced a defensive line like this one before. Pittsburgh's ability to rush four and still generate pressure on the pocket will force Pike to read the coverage quicker, meaning he may not be able to take as much advantage of deep threat Mardy Gilyard. Pike will need to show great poise for the favored Bearcats to pull out this win.


 
 
 
 
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