2009 NFP Scouting Series: Pittsburgh

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2009 NFP Scouting Series: Pittsburgh
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

This summer, the National Football Post is breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who might warrant interest from NFL teams in the 2010 draft.

The Pittsburgh Panthers feature a pair of talented defensive linemen whom they’ll lean heavily on if they hope to compete for a Big East title.


Dorin Dickerson: No. 2, FB/TE/H-Back, 6'2", 230

He's a jack-of-all-trades who’s a pure hybrid player on the Pittsburgh offense and has the ability to line up all over the field in the NFL. He's a physically gifted athlete who is put together well and displays good natural power on contact.

He. possesses the strength to win battles at the point of attack and contribute as a blocker at either tight end or fullback. He also showcases impressive straight-line speed down the field for his size and doesn’t take long to get going.

However, he’s raw in all areas of the game and has never really had a chance to develop at one position. He isn’t the most instinctive of receivers in the passing game and lacks ideal technique as a blocker. At this stage, he gets by mostly on his natural athletic ability, but he has the potential to develop into much more.

My Impression

He has a load of upside and could play any number of positions at the next level (FB, TE, H-back, LB). The physical tools are all there, and he reminds me a bit of former Pitt Panther Kris Wilson.

Nate Byham: No. 80, TE, 6'4", 258

He displays a strong base as a blocker and does a nice job extending his arms and keeping linemen off his frame. He isn’t heavy-handed and lacks the ability to stay on blocks, but possesses good footwork and showcases the quickness to mirror in space. He fires out of his stance low and demonstrates the ability to gain initial leverage on contact; can walk linemen off the ball.

Nate ByhamNate Byham

He possesses a good first step out of his stance in the passing game and does a nice job releasing cleanly off the line.  He displays impressive concentration and consistently extends his arms and plucks the ball away from his frame.

He exhibits the straight-line speed to get down the field and showcases the ability to sink his hips and separate out of his breaks. Byham is an instinctive kid who does a nice job selling his routes and finding soft spots underneath.

My Impression

He's a dual threat as a receiver and blocker; he has the ability to man a starting role in the NFL.

Oderick Turner: No. 88, WR, 6'3", 205

He's a tall, long-armed receiver who isn’t physical off the line and struggles beating press coverage. It takes him a while to get up to full speed and doesn’t threaten corners deep. He displays decent short-area quickness, but lacks the body control as a route runner to cleanly change directions and separate out of his breaks.

Oderick TurnerOderick Turner

He does a nice job gaining inside position and using his frame to shield defenders away from the ball, but he is always forced to make catches with defensive backs draped all over him.

He isn’t going to run away from defenders after the catch and lacks any kind of a second gear to his game. He has a tendency to slow down and gather himself before changing directions and struggles running routes at full speed.

He lacks ideal balance and isn’t sharp out of his breaks. He's raw in all areas of the position.

My Impression

He isn’t physical off the line and doesn’t possess the body control or burst to separate at the next level.


Greg Romeus: No. 91, DE, 6'5", 265

Greg RomeusGreg Romeus

He fires out of his stance too high and lacks the burst to consistently reach the corner. He struggles dipping his shoulder around the edge and doesn’t display the balance to flatten out with any kind of respectable pad level.

However, he does possess good straight-line speed and tracks the football well up and down the line. He uses his hands to shed initial blocks and moves his arms and feet in sync. He showcases good lateral mobility and has the footwork to sidestep blockers inside.

However, he needs to do a better job keeping his pad level low when shedding blocks; he has a tendency to get too high and will expose himself once he sheds the original block.

He has a long set of arms and showcases a violent club on his outside pass rush, but needs to shorten his strike and become more compact.

He possesses decent power at the point of attack vs. the run, but doesn’t display much of a punch on contact. He is more of a catcher who allows linemen to get into him and then sheds the block; he is rarely the aggressor. He displays the length and quickness to consistently disengage from blocks, but his high pad level negates him from doing it as quickly as he could.

My Impression

I like his length and coordination, but he will never be a sack artist at the next level until he learns to play with a lower pad level off the edge.

Ernest Williams: No. 95, DT, 6'1", 282

He's an undersized defensive tackle who has a good first step off the ball and does a nice job dropping his pad level on contact and getting into linemen quickly.

However, he lacks ideal awareness off the snap and has a tendency to come off the ball too high when trying to cross the face of offensive guards. He displays the burst to shoot gaps inside and has the flexibility to get under linemen and work his way into the backfield.

However, he gets overextended in his play and lacks the balance to consistently keep his feet under him and shed the block.

He doesn’t possess the power to drive his way through the double-team and gets washed out of plays too easily. He needs to win off the line with his initial step; he is short-armed, and once offensive linemen get into his frame, the battle is over.

He lacks power vs. the run game and isn’t much of a factor when asked to hold the point of attack. He is consistently manhandled on contact.

My Impression

He lacks the size and power to be an every-down player and is limited to more of a rotational one-gap defensive tackle role at the next level.

Aaron Berry: No. 17, CB, 5'10", 178

He lacks ideal fluidity and balance in his drop. He gets too wide with his footwork and will sidesaddle his way down the field instead of back-pedaling. He displays good straight-line speed, but struggles getting back out of his breaks once he flips his hips.

He isn’t going to re-route receivers off the line and is very raw with his technique in press man. He lacks awareness in off-coverage and doesn’t recognize routes underneath.

He has a tendency to drift downfield out of his drop and struggles quickly driving on the football. He simply doesn’t have great feel in off/zone coverage and gives up too much cushion underneath.

He does a nice job reading his keys off the snap and is quick to close on the run. He breaks down well in space and has the ability to wrap up on contact. However, he struggles disengaging from blocks down the field and lacks the strength to cleanly work his way toward the ball.

My Impression

He's a scrappy corner who displays some ball skills but is undersized and lacks the footwork needed to play man coverage at the next level.

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