Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt's Draft Class Tops out at Five Peterman, Johnson Selected; Panthers Tie 2011 Unit for Most Picks since 2004

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt's Draft Class Tops out at Five Peterman, Johnson Selected; Panthers Tie 2011 Unit for Most Picks since 2004

Article excerpt

Dorian Johnson is headed west, Nathan Peterman is shuffling off to Buffalo and Adam Bisnowaty is bound for the Big Apple. And Ejuan Price? Well, all he gets to do is reunite with one of the best defensive players in Pitt history.

The quartet of Pitt graduates all received that dream-come-true call Saturday afternoon, with some dropping lower than expected but all eventually going on Day 3 of the NFL draft. Combined with James Conner's selection by the Steelers in the third round late Friday, the five picks tie the 2011 year for Pitt's deepest draft class since it had six taken in 2004.

Not bad for the second crop of Pitt products in Pat Narduzzi's tenure.

"I just think the head coach there, they found a gem is what they did," longtime NFL player personnel expert and NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt said this offseason. "I know all the scouts, when they go there, they're very pleased with the treatment they get and they say he's giving them some good players."

Just about every Panthers player picked Saturday could go down as a "steal," given that none went higher than most draft gurus projected.

First, Johnson reportedly saw his stock damaged by a medical concern, but he still ended up as one of the first players selected in the fourth round, while Peterman goes to a franchise that might be looking for its quarterback of the future.

Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman, went 115th overall, the eighth pick in the fourth round, to the Arizona Cardinals. Peterman, meanwhile, was viewed by some experts as potentially a second-round pick, but had to wait until the 171st overall selection when the Bills grabbed him in Round 5 after seven other quarterbacks.

Bisnowaty, Johnson's running mate on the left side of Pitt's line, was scooped by the New York Giants, who traded up to get him with the 16th pick in the sixth round, 200th overall. Lastly, the productive pass-rushing Price was a seventh-round choice for the Los Angeles Rams, where fellow former Pitt and WPIAL star Aaron Donald already is entrenched as one of the league's best defensive tackles. Many draft experts projected Johnson as a Day 2 pick, either in the second or third round, but Saturday morning, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock reported Johnson was falling because of a liver condition. …

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