Pitt RB James Conner declares for 2017 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh running back James Conner has opted out of his senior year, announcing his decision to enter the 2017 NFL Draft on Saturday.


Conner, a cancer survivor, returned to Pitt this season with a vengeance after beating Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After announcing he had been diagnosed last December, he said, “I choose to not fear cancer…I will play football again.”

The running back lived up to that promise and then some. He rushed for 1,060 yards with 16 touchdowns in 12 games for the Panthers this year, notably carrying them to a huge win over Clemson in mid-November. Adept at receiving the ball as well, he caught 20 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns this year.

Though we’ll be shocked if Conner ends up being drafted in the early rounds this April, he could become a mid-round steal if he’s plugged into a situation where his abilities as a power rusher are going to be put to best use.