Four Pitt Panthers Players Named Top Draft Prospects at Their Positions
PITTSBURGH — The Pitt Panthers are expected to be well-represented in the 2023 NFL Draft, if these position rankings from the Athletic’s draft expert Dane Brugler are to be believed. Brugler has three Panthers listed as top-15 prospects at their position entering the real heat of scouting season in professional football.
Pitt’s starting left tackle from the past three seasons, Carter Warren, was named the No. 11 offensive tackle prospect. Despite a season-ending injury suffered midway through the year, the 6’6, 321-pound Warren’s decision to return to school for the 2022 season could prove to be a fruitful one if he is picked among the top line of tackle prospects in this draft.
Defensive tackle Calijah Kancey – a consensus All-American and the 2022 ACC Defensive Player of the Year – was slotted at No. 9 among prospects at his position. He recorded 31 tackles, 14.5 for a loss and 7.5 sacks in 11 games this year. He suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of the regular season finale and will sideline him for the Sun Bowl against No. 18 UCLA, but Kancey still led the country’s interior defensive linemen in tackles for loss.
SirVocea Dennis, a steady presence at inside linebacker for the past three years for the Panthers, is Brugler’s No. 12 linebacker prospect. After leading the Panthers in tackling for the past two seasons, Dennis was an All-ACC second-teamer in 2021 and a first-team backer in 2022. This season he earned third-team All-American consideration from Pro Football Focus and was named a Butkus Award semifinalist. Dennis ends his Pitt career with 233 total tackles – 36 for loss – 15 sacks, two interceptions, five passes defended and two forced fumbles.
Rounding out the group of Pitt players Brugler identified was star running back Israel Abanikanda at No. 10 among the draft-eligible tailbacks. Abanikanda finished the season with 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns, breaking Pitt’s single-game rushing yards record formerly held by Tony Dorsett. He came second in ACC Player of the Year voting.
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