2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the seventh of a longer POV series looking at the individual positions which need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions in ’16. We will not factor in true freshman at this point.

Wide Receiver will be a position of strength for us in this coming season almost surely.  I say that because as we wrote about the QB position early in this series I think we’ll have a downgrade there – so the ripple effect may impact the overall production of our WR corps for ’17.

To start let’s look at who departed Pitt over the off-season.  rsSR Dontez Ford and rsJR Zach Challingsworth.  Well, that was pretty simple wasn’t it? 

Of course our main WR coming back is the exciting and inconsistent – which is part of the excitement because we hold our breath hoping he’ll come down with the ball – rsSR Jester Weah.

Weah is a great example of kids who are just average in their recruiting rating (3*, 5.5) and don’t burst right out of the gate in college… but learn the new game and flourish in their upperclassmen years.  And yes, that is what a good player will do. 

Great players usually do make an impact earlier and Weah may have also if he hadn’t been stuck behind Tyler Boyd and Dontez Ford for his first few years.  But for now he’s pretty darn good and may just be great this season.

Weah has had the catching yips and was publicly open and refreshingly honest about that which I like him even more for.  He has great downfield speed and good moves – but his hands used to let him down when it came to gameday.  More on that later…

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Who is Your 2016 MVP? Seriously

Until I can get home and do up a podcast for today let’s chip in with our Pittsburgh Panthers Football MVP for 2016.  You can list one overall; one on offense and one on defense or anything your little heart desires.

Looking at the season objectively I feel the MVP has to come from the offensive side of the ball for obvious reasons.  One being we had no defense to speak of.  I think QBs are always the most important guy out there because it all starts with the snap and the ball being put into play.

Peterman had a great year as we talked about yesterday.  He didn’t light the world on fire from game one until game 13 but he got steadily better as the season unfolded and, perhaps most importantly, didn’t have many turnovers that kept us from scoring points. Seven INTs on the year is darn good especially stacked up against 237 TD passes.

But that’s the easy pick.  I supposed you could point to James Conner as the romantic choice given it was his comeback year but truth be told his production doesn’t jump off the page at you.

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Understudies To The Wings!!

Here we go – the smell of football is really in the air now.  The team has broken regular camp practices and and is working on the game plans for the opener.  The optimists are figuring a nine win season and the not-so-optimistic figures a seven or eight win deal is about right.

No one thinks sub-.500 though so that’s a good thing.

Best line in this?  “Maybe he misses a class and doesn’t play at all.”  I love this stance folks, truly.  BTW – missing a class for a valid reason isn’t what he’s talking about – he means cutting class.

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A Few Follow-Ups on the WRs

Looking back on the Sunday podcast article where I discussed some position switches and the two-deep I still think it is interesting that Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine listed rsSO Elijah Zeise as a starter at Strong Side LB and rsJR Jester Weah at the 2nd WR spot.  He also had true FR Damar Hamlin at the second string DB position but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in my opinion.

To list Weah (pronounced “We-ah“) in the two deep is reasonable in that there has been a lot of talk about how the staff has liked what he has done so far since the 2015 season ended. He the fastest guy on the team so far, assuming no 2016 recruits are speedier, and it appears that he’s gotten over his catching the ball problems.

That is, of course, a bad thing for a wide receiver to have otherwise the position would be the “Wide Run-down-the-field guy“.  But on the other hand Weah has virtually no experience in college ball in the actual games and has yet to catch a pass in anger:

2015: Played in nine games as a reserve receiver to earn his second letter. 2014: Played in eight games as a reserve receiver in his first active season. 2013: Redshirted as a true freshman.

Fans do love the speedster and we love the deep pass plays that actually work. So I think we are all excited to see what he can do out there given a solid chance to prove himself.

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