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Q&A With Jason Pinnock: Grading His Pro Day, Pitt Career, Flying Under The Radar

Jason Pinnock intercepts a pass.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Jason Pinnock #15 of the Pittsburgh Panthers intercepts a pass intended for Tutu Atwell #1 of the Louisville Cardinals in the fourth quarter during the game at Heinz Field on September 26, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Prior to his pro day, Pittsburgh cornerback Jason Pinnock felt as if he was flying under the radar. That isn't the case anymore considering he now ranks toward the top of his draft class in terms of athleticism.

Pinnock had an incredible pro day earlier this month, posting a 39.5-inch vertical and running the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds. It's safe to say those numbers boosted his draft stock.

As for his production on the field, Pinnock finished his college career with 54 total tackles, 19 passes defended and six interceptions. There's no debating that his best trait on film is his ability to high-point the football

We caught up with Pittsburgh cornerback Jason Pinnock to discuss his path to the NFL Draft, how he would grade his pro day, what he expects from himself at the next level, and much more.

The Spun: You recently had your pro day. How would you grade your performance?

Jason Pinnock: I am a pretty harsh critic, I’m probably the biggest critic when it comes to myself, but it went well. I’d give myself a B+ or A- in terms of what I wanted to do - not too far off from the numbers I had. I had a combine down here in Dallas at EXOS, they held their own combine. I did pretty well there and then wanted to capitalize on that. I was glad I got to show my skills in person for people.

The Spun: Do you feel like you accomplished what you needed to do before the NFL Draft?

JP: I would say I probably showed about 90 percent of whatever they wanted to see. I went through all the drills they wanted to see from me. I also did drills at the College Gridiron Showcase, so they got to see me multiple times live. What’s on film is what’s on film, and I’m proud of that. I think everything is set in stone right now.

The Spun: What are your best traits right now?

JP: My length at the line of scrimmage, being able to get hands on while still moving my feet, and my ability to get the ball at the highest point. With us playing man coverage I wish we could show that a bit more, but again I think the pro day allowed me to show that I can get the ball. My tackling and pre-snap communication skills are also shown on film.

The Spun: There are a lot of advance stats that show low completion percentages when targeting you. Do you feel like you’re somewhat flying under the radar?

JP: I do - it’s about half and half. I’m not a guy who lets that cloud my head or let it affect my training. I train just as hard regardless if they talk about me or not. I do think I’m kind of an under-the-radar prospect as of now, but as the time goes on and numbers come out, you give scouts what you want and get more respect. Even back at Pitt, my guy Nick Arleo, use to have our numbers posted. We were a big room as far as competition. We competed with each other as far as passer rating and stuff like that - I’ve always had the lowest numbers. I was waiting for those PFF statistics to come out, to be quite honest [laughing]. I knew I had to be best in the country in a couple of different categories, so I’m glad those are coming out.

The Spun: Take me back to your Pitt career - what would you say was your favorite moment during that time?

JP: The UCF game for sure, not even because I had a pick in that game, but because of the camaraderie. As a player, when you have those typer of games when guys come together and there’s a different feeling in the locker room, that’s when teams really click and you end up having games like that.

The Spun: What was it like playing for Pat Narduzzi and teaming up with all those talented defensive players at Pitt?

JP: Coach Narduzzi makes it fun. He jokes with his guys a lot and is hard on us, but it’s tough love. He expects a lot out of us. If he thinks we’re a little too high on our horse, he’ll get us back down. Playing with my guys, that’s a big reason why I came to Pitt. That’s a big family since I stepped foot there back in June of 2017. Our class pushed ourselves a lot. As a team, we had all types of talent from different classes, like Rashad Weaver, Pat Jones and Paris Ford. It was great, man. There was completion every day in everything we did.

The Spun: Which cornerbacks do you study on film?

JP: During my childhood, I’d say it was Darrelle Revis. I was a fanatic of his for years. Going to Pitt and being Jordan Whitehead’s cousin, I had the opportunity a few times to talk to him. He helped my game out a lot just through a few conversations. As far as being in college and high school and getting to that level, I watched Richard Sherman. I’ve been breaking him down play by play since 2017. I put a tweet out not too long ago and he ended up responding. Hopefully, we can meet up and talk in person.

The Spun: Which wide receiver do you want to match up with in the NFL?

JP: DeAndre Hopkins would be my pick.

The Spun: Has it hit you yet that you’re a month away from the NFL Draft?

JP: I’m not going to lie, after I finished up my pro day all my guys came up to me and were congratulating me. I just sat on the bench and took a few deep breathes and was like ‘Wow, I’m just a small-town kid from Windsor, Connecticut’ It’s a blessing, man. Now, I’m trying to plan draft day and figure out who’s coming and what they’re going to eat. The more you do it, the more surreal it gets.

The Spun: What can NFL teams expect rom Jason Pinnock?

JP: A lot, a lot. Specifically on the field, I’m going to get the ball at a high point - higher than a lot of the cornerbacks in this draft. My ball skills are like a receivers’. You’re going to get a great teammate within the film room. Off the field, I’m a guy who a lot of my teammates will come to when they need to talk about real-life problems. Everyone might look good on the outside, but everyone has their struggles. You’re going to get a great teammate out of me, a great person in the community, and a great ballplayer.

Pinnock certainly has the potential to become a playmaker in the NFL due to his impressive ball skills. We'll find out where his pro career will begin next month.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.