2011 NFL Draft: Dom DeCicco And Henry Hynoski - Pitt's Forgotten Men

I meant to get to this earlier, but there were, of course, two omissions when it came to Pitt players with a good chance to get drafted - safety Dom DeCicco and Henry Hynoski.

Starting with Hynoski, I'd been back and forth on him. When I first heard the news, I was initially pretty skeptical. He only had a total of 33 rushing yards last year and averaged less than three yards per carry. But as time went on, I at least came to understand his line of thinking (even though I still argued that he might not get selected).

Well, after this weekend, it's looking like a mistake.

Sure, you can argue that Todd Graham's new offense wouldn't have been for him. But who's to say he wouldn't have been used at all? And with Ray Graham being the only returning running back, I've got to think Hynoski would have received some carries. And who knows...maybe improve on that meager 2.8 yards per carry.

I also expect Ray Graham to have a big year next season in this offense. A blocking fullback for a 1,000-1,200 yard rusher would have looked pretty good on his resume as well.

Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette thinks Hynoski would have been drafted without the combine injury. I don't know - I've got a hard time thinking someone can go from definitely being drafted to undrafted on the basis of a hamstring injury. This isn't a torn ACL we're talking about - it was a fairly minor injury. Did the injury hurt his chances? Sure, probably some. But I was never convinced that he was a slam dunk to be drafted.

Then, there was Hynoski's dad, who played in the NFL and had a pretty funny story before the draft about just how unpredictable it was.

You just never know what can happen:

"Our quarterback, Steve Joachim, was expected to be a first or second round pick," Henry Sr. remembered. "He was already married and all the media were at his apartment. I was sitting in my dorm with my roommates when my name was called, and a couple of minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was all my teammates with a half barrel of beer. We drank that in about 30 minutes and then went out and really celebrated."

As for Joachim, he was drafted, but not until the round after Hynoski. He spent some time as an NFL backup but never had the starring career many had thought he would. Such are the vagaries of the draft, and the Hynoski family is as aware of that as anyone.

"You just don't know what's going to happen," said Kathy, who has been doing a lot of the groundwork as far as keeping in touch with Henry's agent and various teams.

 You can only imagine how Hyno felt afterwards:

"I'm not feeling too good right now," Hynoski said Saturday night. "I'm kind of in shock. This was really unexpected from all angles."

But he wasn't the only one not picked. There was safety Dom DeCicco. Ordinarily, players not drafted would have started signing with other teams immediately after the draft. But because of the ongoing lockout, that's not possible right now.

And guys like DeCicco are anxious:

"The quicker this lockout is over, the better it is as free agent," DeCicco said. "If it works out like that, it is going to be a complete uphill climb. It would be really tough to make a team that way."

Teams were able to contact players during the draft. Nearly a dozen organizations were in touch with DeCicco and Hynoski and expressed interest in signing them to a free agent deal.

Then there's Elijah Fields, who was booted from the team, but still hoping for an NFL shot:

"You just have to make the best of your opportunity with whatever chance you get," Fields said. "All I want is a chance. It doesn't matter where or when."

I could be wrong, but I think Fields might be facing an uphill battle.
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