NFL Draft: Pitt's Lewis goes to Eagles
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A number of players with local ties were drafted in the final four rounds of the NFL draft Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York, but at least one notable local player, Pitt fullback Henry Hynoski, who left school a year early, didn't get drafted.
But the Panthers, who had two players drafted in the first three rounds Thursday and Friday, didn't get shut out Saturday as they had three players selected, though all three had to wait a little longer than they had hoped.
The first of the three off the board was tailback Dion Lewis, who, like Hynoski left school early. Lewis was projected as a third-round pick by NFL scouting personnel before he declared himself eligible for the draft shortly after the Panthers won the BBVA Compass Bowl against Kentucky in January.
But concerns about Lewis' size and speed began to emerge shortly after the NFL Scouting Combine and they apparently caught up to him as he slid to the fifth round before being selected by Philadelphia with the 149th overall pick.
One pick later, Lewis' teammate and Baldwin native Jason Pinkston was picked by Cleveland. Pinkston played tackle at Pitt but projects to play guard in the NFL.
Finally, defensive end Greg Romeus was picked by New Orleans with the 26th pick (226th overall) of the seventh round. That gave the Panthers five players who were selected, the most since 2004 when six were taken.
But Pitt wasn't the only local school to be represented Saturday, as Penn State tailback Evan Royster, the school's all-time leading rusher, was picked in the sixth round, 177th overall.
Royster was only the second Nittany Lions player taken in the draft most likely because of a small senior class.
Meanwhile, West Virginia had four players taken Saturday as well -- outside linebacker JT Thomas was the 30th pick in the sixth round (No. 195 overall) and was selected by the Bears; cornerback Brandon Hogan was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the first pick (98th overall) of the fourth round; safety Robert Sands was the third pick in the fifth round by Cincinnati; and defensive lineman Chris Nield was picked by the Washington Redskins with the 50th pick of the seventh round (253rd overall), one spot above the end of the draft.
Two other notable players with local ties were selected as well.
Slippery Rock center Brandon Fusco was picked by the Minnesota Vikings with the seventh pick of the sixth round, 172nd overall. Fusco is a graduate of Seneca Valley High School.
And former Pitt and Aliquippa linebacker Tommie Campbell, who finished his career at California University of Pennsylvania and converted to safety, was selected by the Tennessee Titans 251st overall.
Campbell was dismissed from Pitt and Edinboro, then sat out for two years before he got one final shot at football when he enrolled at California last year and had an outstanding season as a safety.
First Published May 1, 2011 12:00 am