Pitt

4-1-Zoo: NFL Draft, Offensive Player Previews

Jon Baldwin

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jon Baldwin (82) makes a catch over Rutgers cornerback David Rowe (4) for a 23 yard gain to the 2-yard line in the third quarter of the NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 41-21.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Jon Baldwin headlines a class of former Panthers on the offensive side of the ball that will likely be selected in the NFL Draft.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the players and their strengths and weaknesses, along with my take on where they’ll go in the draft.

Jon Baldwin, Wide Receiver:

Attributes: 6-foot-4, 228 pounds. 33 & 5/8″ wingspan, 10 & 1/8″ hand size. Stood out at his position in NFL Combine in bench press, vertical jump and broad jump.

Strengths: His size lends to a long stride and quickness down the field. He has great hands and can out jump almost anyone of the football field at any position. Once he gets the ball, good luck catching him.

Weaknesses: Baldwin suffered from poor route running and ball location, at times, in his final year at Pitt. He was accused of giving up on plays by some and didn’t wow anyone in the interview portion of his combine tests. Run blocking is up in the air as well.

My take: Baldwin has too many natural attributes to not go high in the draft. Most seem to have him projected as a late-first to early-second rounder. I’ll take the former, dropping him anywhere from 20-30 in the first round.

Dion Lewis, Running Back:

Attributes: 5-foot-7, 193 pounds. 28-inch wingspan, 8.75-inch hand size. Stood out at his position in NFL Combine in 60-yard shuttle.

Strengths: Has very quick feet. Though some of his speed numbers didn’t wow anyone at the Combine, he showed a great burst at Pitt through the hole and in to the secondary. There, he showed oustanding elusiveness and breakaway speed.

Weaknesses: His size doesn’t lend to the physicality of the NFL. Lewis doesn’t have the frame to be an every-down back. Creating his own hole and pushing through the offensive line look to be big issues, as does his ability to protect in pass coverage.

My Take: Lewis is a guy that left college too early. While his size wouldn’t change drastically, he could have improved in some skilll areas where he is lacking. I’d expect him to fall to the final day of the draft. Where in that day is the question. Will someone look at Dion’s 1,799-yard freshman season and take a chance on him?

Jason Pinkston, Offensive Line:

Attributes: 6-foot-3, 317 pounds. 34-inch wingspan, 10.25-inch hand size.

Strengths: Pinkston seems to have a smart head on his shoulders when it comes to the game. He’s able to recognize things quickly and react to the defense — he showed that as the anchor on a inexperienced Pitt offensive line in 2010.

Weaknesses: Many have said Pinkston has work to do on his strength, given that he’s a bit undersized. He also has a lot of refining to do when it comes to every-down reflexes.

My Take: Pinkston will go early on the final day of the Draft. He’s a guy that’s going to be looked at as a project by whoever drafts him. He doesn’t have all the tools, but is a smart enough player and a hard enough worker that he could develop over time to be a starter in the league.

Others entering the draft with a lesser chance of being selected:

- Henry Hynoski, Fullback.

Be sure to follow Area 4-1-Zoo for draft updates on all Pitt players involved. Follow me on Twitter for more immediate updates.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog
Twitter.com/Chris_Gates
Chris.Gates@cbsradio.com

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