Friday, June 21, 2013
Weak and strong: Pitt
By Andrea Adelson
We move on to Pitt today in our series looking at the strongest and weakest positions on each team in the league.
Strongest position: Defensive back
Tough call to make here between defensive line and defensive back. Three starters return to both positions -- the line features the best overall player on the defense in Aaron Donald, but the secondary features three players who could end up being All-ACC selections. K'Waun Williams and Lafayette Pitts form one of the better starting cornerback duos in the ACC. Fans who are unfamiliar with them now will soon know who they are when the season begins. At safety, All-Big East first-team selection Jason Hendricks returns after a solid 2012 in which he lead the team with 90 tackles and six interceptions. He and Williams combined for 10 of the teams' 15 picks last season. The big hole is at strong safety, where both starter Jarred Holley and backup Andrew Taglianetti are gone. Holley has been the most consistent player in the Panthers' defense over the last three years, while Taglianetti could always be counted on to deliver the monster hit. Ray Vinopal, a top reserve last season, is the favorite to take over for Holley.
Weakest position: Offensive line
I gave the line the nod over running back and receiver because there remains way too much uncertainty about this group after spring practice. Running back has a depth problem, there is no question, but I think Isaac Bennett is capable of shouldering the load. Receiver also has some depth and inexperience issues, but Devin Street should be one of the best in the league. That leaves offensive line, which has to replace its two best players from a year ago. Two redshirt freshmen could be starting the season opener against Florida State and face what should be another talented defensive front -- Adam Bisnowaty at one tackle and Gabe Roberts at center. Incoming freshman Dorian Johnson -- one of the top offensive line recruits in the nation -- could see time as well depending on how he does during fall camp. There were more position moves this spring to try and find the right combination, but there remains much unsettled about this group headed into the season.
More in this series here.