ESPN.com Big East blogger Andrea Adelson is wrapping up her top 25 Big East player list and Pitt is well represented. The Panthers placed four players in her top list including Tino Sunseri (No. 23), Jarred Holley (No. 19), Ray Graham (No. 8), and Brandon Lindsey (No. 2).
It was a toss up between Lindsey and Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros in the 2-3 spot. Ultimately I went with Lindsey for a variety of reasons. First, I think he has an excellent chance to continue the Pitt tradition of stalwart defensive players and win the league player of the year award. His ability to disrupt rushing off the edge is terrific. Lindsey led the league with 17.5 tackles for loss last season and was second with 10 sacks.
It's easy to speculate about how Lindsey might do without Sheard this season, but he's got a massive advantage in that Pitt's defensive line is just scary good. Aaron Donald, Myles Caragein, and Chas Alecxih will be able to put so much pressure on offensive lines that it will be hard to focus solely on Lindsey like defenders did to Sheard last season.
Another important thing to remember is that, playing in the Panther linebacker spot, Lindsey's going to get a chance to build some momentum before he gets to the line when rushing the passer. When you mix in the more aggressive defense the Panthers expect to play this season, I see Lindsey finishing in double digit sack totals again.