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2011 NFL Draft Prospects: Pitt Running Back Dion Lewis Reportedly Will Go Pro

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pitt's Dion Lewis is "likely" to submit himself to the whims of the NFL draft after the season. Lewis isn't a name we've heard much in connection with the draft, and he'll be in the shadows of his teammate, wide receiver Jon Baldwin, who could be a first-round pick. But it's no surprise that he'd pick up and leave, given the mess the Panthers' coaching situation has become.

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The NFL has apparently told Lewis he is likely to be a third-round pick, which makes sense. He has only (or "only") 956 yards this season, but he was ridiculous in his freshman year in 2009. At 5-foot-8, though, Lewis doesn't have the look of an NFL featured back, and he probably doesn't have the speed to make up for that, so he's likely to be a role player in the NFL.

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Still, his departure would be a blow to the Panthers, who now have no coach and serious recruiting issues, and are facing the losses of two of their best offensive weapons. Fellow Pitt running back Ray Graham has averaged 6.4 yards per carry this year and should ensure that the running game works smoothly without Lewis, but losing him is most definitely still a bad thing.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.