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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt football looks to turn heads before NFL draft

First-year+linebacker+Jordan+Bass+%2820%29+celebrates+after+a+play+during+the+game+against+FSU+at+Acrisure+Stadium+on+Sunday%2C+Nov.+4.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
First-year linebacker Jordan Bass (20) celebrates after a play during the game against FSU at Acrisure Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 4.

After two straight years of success, Pitt football is in for a bit of a down year in the upcoming 2024 NFL draft. Only two Panthers — offensive lineman Matt Goncalves and cornerback M.J. Devonshire — are likely to hear their name called later this month in Detroit.

But the Panthers had an opportunity to boost their collective draft stock last Wednesday in front of NFL scouts and coaches at Pitt’s 2024 Pro Day, which took place at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex in the South Side. The Panthers made some noise as a group, as many players posted head-turning performances in the numerous drills at the event. 

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi believes that the Panthers are built to impress at Pro Day.

“One thing about Pitt Pro Day [is] our kids come out and put on a show,” Narduzzi said. “[I am] always impressed with our kids’ attitude [and] professionalism they show when they come out here.” 

Goncalves came into Wednesday with arguably the most to prove to NFL scouts. The former Pitt offensive lineman was forced to miss most of his final season at Pitt due to a toe injury. Goncalves also missed the NFL Combine last month, making Pitt’s Pro Day his most important chance to impress NFL scouts. 

The former Panther accomplished what he set out to do at Pro Day. Goncalves posted 19 reps on the bench press and ran a 5.11-second 40-yard dash. While these numbers aren’t exactly earth-shattering, they do show scouts that Goncalves is healing and ready to compete next season. 

“I was confident in my athletic ability to come out and perform,” Goncalves said. “I really wanted to do it at the combine, but I couldn’t. So, I thought this would be a perfect time to have an extra month to get ready. I felt really good about it.”

NFLDraftBuzz.com currently projects Goncalves as a fourth-round selection. Among the teams interested in the former Panther are the Steelers, which met with Goncalves last month at the NFL Combine. 

But arguably, the best performance at Pitt’s Pro Day came from cornerback A.J. Woods. The former Pitt defensive back posted a 6.56-second three-cone drill time, which is faster than any performance at the NFL Combine. Narduzzi was especially impressed with his former cornerback’s performance. 

“I would say the one guy that turned my head would be Woods,” Narduzzi said. “Woods had a great day, which I knew he would. Some guys are Pro Day guys out here that can run around the cones really good, but if you look at what he did out here today and then put the film on, Woods is a good football player.”

Pitt’s other cornerback at Pro Day — Devonshire — had a quiet day. But the former Pitt cornerback received exciting news this week, as he scheduled meetings with two NFL teams before the upcoming NFL draft, including the Steelers. 

The Panthers’ 2024 draft class will have to wait until the end of the month to see if its professional dreams will come true. The NFL draft is scheduled for April 25-27 in Detroit.

About the Contributor
Brian Sherry, Sports Editor