We've already taken a look at Athlon's lists for top running backs and top quarterbacks in the conference, but now their unit rankings are trickling out. This week, they took a look at the Big East's wide receivers and Pitt fell in the middle.
The Panthers didn’t suffer any huge losses from this group and with the arrival of offensive-minded head coach Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh could have one of the Big East’s most-improved offenses in 2012. Devin Street and Mike Shanahan are the headliners for this group and both players should be in the mix for All-Big East honors. Street led the team with 53 receptions and 754 yards last year. Cameron Saddler caught 19 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown in 2011 and is back in the mix as a No. 3 returner and weapon on special teams. Ronald Jones turned in a solid freshman campaign last year, catching 17 passes for 143 yards. Jones and Saddler will backup Street and Shanahan, but sophomore Darius Patton could work his way into playing time. Tight end Hubie Graham should have a breakout year in Chryst’s offense.
There's more to the unit than just Devin Street, but I'm really interested to see what he can do in the pro set offense. He's a deep ball threat and he and Sunseri rarely connected on those last year. But I'm hoping that with a more comfortable Sunseri, we might see more of that.
The strange thing is that, as I've outlined here and here, Street is showing up as a high pick in mock drafts ... for 2013. That would mean he leaves early and, presumably, has a big 2012. Mock drafts a year away generally aren't worth much, but if Street is getting recognition, it means people are at least aware of his potential.