The University of Pittsburgh has a healthy cohort of prospects heading to the 2021 NFL Draft. While players such as Rashad Weaver, Patrick Jones, and Jaylen Twyman have garnered attention, others Panthers’ prospects are creeping under the radar. One of those is Pittsburgh cornerback Jason Pinnock, who could be a sleeper on Day 3.
Jason Pinnock NFL Draft Player Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Pittsburgh
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 5’11 1/2″
- Weight: 190 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Jason Pinnock Scouting Report
Positives: Nice-sized cornerback with an underrated game. Quick-footed in reverse, flips his hips in transition and plays heads-up football. Mixes it up with receivers throughout the route, positions himself to make plays on the pass, and possesses good ball skills. Physical, uses his hands to get off blocks and gives effort defending the run.
Negatives: Play speed is a major concern. Cannot recover. Lacks great closing burst.
Analysis: Pinnock is a hard-working cornerback with terrific ball skills and a feel for the position. He rarely plays to his 40 time and speed will be an issue, but Pinnock can line up in dime packages for a zone scheme.
Jason Pinnock Player Profile
The Connecticut native is used to playing in the shadows. As a three-star high school prospect out of Windsor, Connecticut, his early recruiting process was a low-key affair made up of local intrigue. Among a number of smaller-school offers, Pinnock committed to Boston College prior to his senior season.
That year would ensure he emerged from the shadows into the spotlight. A versatile player, Pinnock lined up at cornerback and wide receiver for a team that went 12-1 and made it to the championship game. As a dominant receiver, he finished third in the state with 1,172 receiving yards while snagging 12 touchdowns. Additionally, he put his pass-catching skills to use as a playmaking cornerback, securing 7 interceptions and a 70-yard pick-six.
The Hartford Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, Pinnock’s recruiting process went into overdrive. Following an offer from Pittsburgh, he rescinded his commitment to Boston College. As the sharks circled for his signature — Notre Dame was expected to make a strong play for his services — a visit to Pittsburgh resulted in him committing and calling off his recruitment.
Pinnock’s college football career at Pittsburgh
Ironically, Notre Dame would play a part in Pinnock’s story as a cornerback at Pittsburgh. As a sophomore in 2018, he secured his first college interception against the Fighting Irish. However, he’d already put a mark in the touchdown box as a freshman. He saw time in 10 games on special teams and as a reserve cornerback, making plays when given the opportunity including a fumble recovery returned for a score against Oklahoma State.
The interception against Notre Dame came as part of an increased role in his sophomore season. He made six starts across 13 games. His 2 interceptions tied the team lead and his 6 pass breakups included 3 from an impressive performance in the ACC Championship Game against Trevor Lawrence and company.
Injury thwarted his junior season, with Pinnock spending three games on the sideline, limiting him to just three starts on the season. Despite his injury, he continued to flash playmaking ability. His 7 pass breakups would be a career-high, and he proved to be a game-changing threat against UCF. The Pittsburgh cornerback secured a leaping end-zone interception as Pitt eeked out a 35-34 victory.
Despite the interruptions caused by the global situation in 2020, Pinnock started a career-high 10 games in his final season as a Pittsburgh cornerback. In securing 3 interceptions — including a game-sealing pick against Louisville — and 19 tackles, he ensured that he went out playing his best football. Excellent performances throughout the season earned him a spot at the College Gridiron Showcase, where he displayed his ability to the scouts in attendance.
Jason Pinnock’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
The Pittsburgh cornerback has outstanding length which could earn him a shot in the NFL. His overall athletic profile is likely to also cause intrigue as his shuttle, broad jump, and vertical jump at Pitt’s Pro Day were particularly impressive. One knock against Pinnock from talent evaluators has been his speed. However, he turned in a sub-4.50 40-yard dash. The question remains whether he can play at that speed on the field.
Whether the intrigue is enough for him to be drafted is another matter. Still, he represents a potential late-round option in a packed cornerback class. Some teams that could take a cornerback at the backend of the draft include the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, and Indianapolis Colts.
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