NFL Draft: An introduction

By Tony Jovenitti

They won’t be stepping onto Heinz Field with a Pitt jersey again, but some members of… They won’t be stepping onto Heinz Field with a Pitt jersey again, but some members of last season’s Pitt football team might return to the North Shore wearing the logo of an NFL team next year.

At least eight players have hired agents and declared for the 75th NFL Draft. Aaron Berry, Nate Byham, Dorin Dickerson, Adam Gunn, John Malecki, Gus Mustakas, Bill Stull and Mick Williams will all be eligible for the draft, which begins on April 22.

This year’s draft takes place over three days at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with the first round held during primetime on Thursday night. In previous years, the draft was only a two-day event.

In the draft, NFL teams select graduating seniors and eligible underclassmen (if they have been out of high school for three years). The players selected then begin contract negotiations with the team. The player is not guaranteed a spot on the roster, and he does not have to sign a contract. If he holds out, he can sit out that year and re-enter the draft the following year.

This year, the St. Louis Rams have the first pick, and it is widely speculated that the Rams will select Oklahoma’s quarterback, Sam Bradford. Bradford won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt sophomore in 2008.

According to three different mock drafts — from ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report — no Panthers are expected to be selected in the first round.

However, over the next week, The Pitt News will talk with some of these players and provide an in-depth look at each player’s draft hopes and future plans.

Up first: John Malecki

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