Pitt stars take talent to Texas

Former Panthers drafted Saturday in middle rounds

Call it the Pittsburgh two-step.

Within minutes of each other on Saturday afternoon, former Pitt quarterback Tom Savage and wide receiver Devin Street found their new NFL homes, and both will head deep into the heart of Texas.

Savage went to the Houston Texans with the 135th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, and Street followed just a few minutes later as the Dallas Cowboys took him with the 146th pick.

"It means a lot," Savage said in a conference call with reporters. "I think it's a great organization and I'm excited to just get in there and start working."

Savage's draft stock climbed steadily in his lone season with the Panthers and seemed to skyrocket in the months since the season ended. Some projections had him going as high as the second round, but he ended up falling to late in the fourth.

After transferring twice, from Rutgers and Arizona, Savage threw for 2,958 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his one year of eligibility at Pitt. Scouts were enamored with his potential and arm strength, but concerned about the lack of multiple years of production in college.

He'll join a Texans team with a quarterback situation still in flux for 2014. Three quarterbacks started for Houston last year, and former starter Matt Schaub was traded to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason.

"I'm just going to have to come in there and work and compete and that's all you can really ask for," he said. "I think I obviously have a lot to learn."

One of Savage's favorite targets last season, Street didn't have to wait much longer after his quarterback to get the call from an NFL team early in the fifth round. The Cowboys traded up 12 picks to get him, giving up a seventh-round pick in the swap.

Street said he worked out for Cowboys receivers coach Derek Dooley before the draft and met with head coach Jason Garrett, as well as owner Jerry Jones, at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

"It feels great," he said in a phone interview. "I felt like I was better than some of those receivers ahead of me, but at the same time it's always been something I've gone through. It just fuels the fire, man. I'm blessed, to be honest with you, because Dallas is a place I wanted to go all along."

Street left Pitt as the program's all-time leading pass catcher with 202 career receptions. He had a good chance at setting the program's career receiving yards record, too, but missed the final three games of his collegiate career with an injury.

"[Tom and I are] both just so stoked for each other," Street said. "Guys who have been doubted and everything like that. We both had long journeys, but now we're here. We're both so hungry, fourth and fifth-round picks. We felt we could go a little higher, but everything happens for a reason. It's just going to make us work that much harder."

Penn State standouts picked

John Urschel became one of Penn State's most famous football players in recent years. He won numerous on-field honors, such as All-Big Ten, and numerous academic honors, such as The Sullivan Award. Now he can add another accomplishment: NFL draft pick.

Urschel, an offensive guard, was picked by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round with the 175th pick. He'll now have the opportunity to see whether his football prowess and well-known academic skills will translate to the NFL.

"My intelligence certainly helps," Urschel told Baltimore reporters on a conference call. "I feel like I really bring a toughness, a real get-after-it attitude and that's something I take pride in."

Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones also was drafted Saturday as a fourth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans. Jones led Penn State in tackles for loss last season with 11.5 and had 56 tackles.

The Titans are in the AFC South, meaning Jones will twice face divisional opponent Houston, now coached by Bill O'Brien.

"That will be fun to go against him and play against the former staff," Jones said on a conference call.

WPIAL product taken late

Boston College defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey, a former Laurel Highlands High School standout, was the only former WPIAL player drafted Saturday when he went in the seventh round to the San Francisco 49ers.

Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG. Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MDent05.

Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG

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