So, Pitt fans have always known that despite a fairly mediocre program over the past 30 years, the university has continued to churn out NFL talent at a fairly alarming rate. Despite many down seasons, Pitt is generally good for several quality pro players each decade. That's been highlighted recently by the emergence of Lesean McCoy, Darrelle Revis, and Larry Fitzgerald - all legitimate NFL stars.
Recently, though, a website tried to quantify where schools rank in producing not only professional players, but valuable ones. Pitt ranks very highly on the list - the Panthers came in second in the nation.
I'll let you visit the link and sort out for yourself its credibility. But basically, the site uses a variety of statistics to determine not only how valuable players are over their expected rate of return as a total value, but calculate a return on investment (in terms of a percentage value based on where they were selected in the draft from 1970-2007).
Programs such as Nebraska, USC, and Penn State all had more players drafted. But in a ranking of players that actually panned out and performed according to where they were taken, Pitt comes in far higher than those schools. And honestly, that's why I think the program has continued to bring in good talent year after year. The university has such an outstanding track record of not only getting guys to the pros (regardless of who the coach is) that the reputation draws solid players with aspirations of playing in the NFL. Part of it has to do with the location, obviously, as western Pennsylvania still churns out a good number big time recruits. But outside of that, there's really no reason that Pitt should be putting so many guys into the NFL.