Pitt loses three offensive players to draft

Three linchpins of the Pitt offense announced Monday evening that they will be entering the NFL draft.

The decisions by receiver Jon Baldwin and running back Dion Lewis weren't too surprising, while fullback Henry Hynoski's call was not something anyone would have predicted a month or so ago.

Baldwin has been a first-round type of talent since he stepped onto Pittsburgh's campus. The 6-foot-5 wideout was a two-time All-Big East performer who had 53 catches for 822 yards and five touchdowns this season. His skill set should allow him to flourish in the NFL if he continues to improve and mature.

Lewis is only a sophomore but is eligible for the draft because he went to prep school. Of course, he was the Big East's offensive player and rookie of the year in 2009, rushing for 1,799 yards. His numbers were way down this year, but he finished strong to go over 1,000 yards for the second straight year. It will be interesting to see how the NFL views a guy his size, as he is only about 5-foot-8. But when he's on his game, no one runs harder.

Hynoski was the team's fullback and is considered one of the top fullback prospects in the draft. Of course, not every team uses a fullback that much. He did an excellent job as a lead blocker for both Lewis and Ray Graham, and probably saw the writing on the wall for his Pitt future. While Dave Wannstedt used a pro-style system, the Panthers appear to be close to hiring Tulsa's Todd Graham, who runs a spread offense which has little use for the fullback.

All three guys will be missed, but the new coach will still have a lot to work with. Devin Street is a guy who could blossom next season in Baldwin's role, while Graham should pick up the torch left behind by Lewis.