A meeting of two teams whose aspirations certainly fell short this season.   Pittsburgh lost late to dash their BCS hopes.   While North Carolina was an overall disappointment.  Two of the better defenses in the country face off as a plethora of potential pro prospects will litter the field.   The most interesting aspect of this game may be the post game interviews to see if a handful of talented underclassmen declare.

Pittsburgh

Rnd

Full Name

Pos

#

Year

Comments

1

Greg Romeus

DE

91

RS-Jr.

This defender has prototype size for a traditional 43 end at a listed 6-feet-6-inches tall and 270 pounds.  Romeus may not be the most explosive pass rusher off the edge, but he is powerful and tenacious.   This season, his biggest plays have most often came at the end of games. Romeus does need to refine his overall technique to become more of a consistent threat as he disappears for long stretches.  His production is somewhat less than ideal for such a highly rated prospect with only 8 quarterback sacks this season, though that total still led his team.

5-6

Nate Byham

TE

80

Sr.

A specialist at his position, Byham is one of the better blocking tight ends to come from the collegiate ranks in some time.  He has proven he can seal off the edge, be a lead blocker, and even catch a few balls when given the opportunity (although his role diminished in the passing game this past season).  Certain teams will value Byham very highly because of his ability to be an extension of the offensive line.

5-6

Dorin Dickerson

TE/FB

2

Sr.

Head Coach Dave Wannstedt often refers to this talent as their “hybrid”.   Dickerson is a very good athlete who has played multiple positions while at Pittsburgh including wide receiver and linebacker.   In high school he played every position on the field including quarterback and kick returner.   Now Dickerson has finally settled into his role and has proved to be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.   At 6-feet-2-inches tall and 230 pounds, Dickerson is too big and physical for cornerbacks to cover, while he is too fast for most linebackers and even safeties to cover.  This is all the more reason why this receiver was so often targeted in the redzone with a team leading 10 touchdowns.  His inability to fit in one position does hurt his draft stock slightly.

7-FA

Mick Williams

DT

95

RS-Sr.

Clearly, the leader of this Pittsburgh defense.   Although not overly powerful at the point of attack, Williams has a knack for shooting gaps and possesses a great motor.  His lack of size is a hindrance at 6-feet-1-inch tall and 280 pounds.

FA

Oderick Turner

WR

88

RS-Sr.

A physical receiver on the edge at 6-feet-3-inches tall and 205 pounds who uses his body well.   His troubles have also come with his inconsistency throughout his career with the Panthers.  While his flat out speed is questionable as well.

FA

Aaron Berry

CB

17

Sr.

Plenty of starting experience on the island and received some conference acclaim throughout his career.

FA

Joe Thomas

OG

56

Sr.

A solid technician but not overly powerful at the point of attack.

FA

John Malecki

OG/C

74

Sr.

A former defensive lineman turned offensive line last season.   This versatile lineman is a strong run blocker with limited physical abilities.

FA

Bill Stull

QB

11

RS-Sr.

Booed by fans entering this season, Stull has put together a nice senior season.   Although greatly improved from a year ago, his mental errors at critical times have always been a concern.  Overall a good athlete with a solid arm, who should get a look somewhere.

North Carolina

Rnd

Full Name

Pos

#

Yr

Comments

1

Bruce Carter

LB

54

Jr.

Ultra-athletic weakside linebacker prospect that is as good going sideline to sideline as any other prospect at his position.  Carter is comfortable in space and can cover tight ends.  At times he can be found covering the slot receiver.  His size is slightly less than ideal at a listed 225 pounds, so this linebacker’s physicality is somewhat questionable.   Also his speed and reckless abandon take him out of position at times.  Put him in the right system, with a good coaching staff, and Bruce Carter can become a tackling machine.

1-2

Marvin Austin

DT

9

Jr.

Austin made a huge splash a freshman and was near impossible to block.  After a subpar sophomore campaign, this defensive lineman became a focal point of opposing offenses.   Austin’s disruptive nature at the position has been limited while taking on multiple blockers on a consistent basis.  He has struggled reading his keys and shedding blocks at times, but his consistent hustle and playmaking ability still shine.

2-3

Quan Sturdivant

LB

52

Jr.

Sturdivant has can play all three linebacking positions.   He is athletic enough to play outside and stout enough to do inside.   A year ago he led the nation in unassisted tackles, while leading his team again this season.  A leader of one of the most fierce and athletic defenses in the nation.

2-3

Kendrick Burney

CB

16

Jr.

Already strongly considering entering the 2010 draft early, Burney has put together two very solid campaigns the last two seasons.   Team shied away from him slightly this season, but the junior was still able to snag 5 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, and finishing fifth on the team in total tackles.   His size is slightly less than ideal at the position at a listed 5-feet-9-inches tall and 190 pounds, but that will not change from this year to next if he were to declare early.

3

Deunta Williams

S

27

Jr.

Another junior with potential intentions of leaving early, Williams also put together a fine junior campaign.   He has displayed a knack for playing the football and knowing what to do with it when he got his hands on it.  Williams has very nice size to play safety in the NFL at 6-feet-2-inches tall and over 200 pounds.   Another very good athlete on a unit littered with them.

3-4

Greg Little

WR

8

Jr.

After the Tarheels top three receivers left for the NFL a year ago, Little was asked to step up and has done so spectacularly.   He filled in late last year at the position due to injuries amongst the unit, while also receiving repetitions at running back.  A big receiver, Little makes tough catches look routine and doubles as a dangerous return man.   If he were to enter the draft and run well, his stock could continue to skyrocket.  Or Little could decide to return to Chapel Hill only to improve off his single year of productivity.  This jack of all trades is a wonderful athlete with a bright future.

3-4

Charles Brown

CB

12

Jr.

Brown was often targeted more than his fellow junior cornerback, but Brown did not disappoint with 3 interceptions of his own, 8 deflections, and 11 passes broken up.  Brown’s lapses in coverage from time to time knock his stock down slightly despite having an every so slight size advantage.

5-6

Cam Thomas

DT

93

Sr.

An interior defender who has seen his draft stock rise throughout the season.  While fellow defensive tackle Marvin Austin is more of a traditional 3 technique, Thomas fits the role as a 1 technique.  He presents very nice size at 6-feet-3-inches tall and 330 pounds.  His ability to clog up the middle allows those athletic linebackers behind him to run free and make plays.

5-6

Ryan Houston

RB

32

Jr.

Found an opportunity to become the workhorse when the team’s starting back was injured and took advantage.   Houston is a powerful runner at 245 pounds and has quick feet in and out of the hole.

FA

E.J. Wilson

DE

92

Sr.

Squat end prospect who is more stout against the run than a pure pass rusher.

FA

Aleric Mullins

DT

97

Sr.

Finds himself as a solid role player in North Carolina’s defensive line rotation.    Plays with good strength, leverage, and quickness at 295 pounds.

FA

Kyle Jolly

OT

72

Sr.

A three year starter at left tackle in the ACC.  Does not have the athleticism to stay as such in the NFL.

FA

T.J. Yates

QB

13

Jr.

Young quarterback who has shown some flashes but has dealt with injuries and inconsistency.  Best served to return to school.

FA

Shaun Draughn

RB

20

Jr.

A bright future appeared ahead for this underclassmen, until once again he suffered through another injury.