Scout Names Pitt's MJ Devonshire Future NFL Starter

One NFL scout believes Pitt Panthers standout M.J. Devonshire is being underrated in this draft cycle.
Oct 14, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back M.J. Devonshire (12)
Oct 14, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back M.J. Devonshire (12) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH -- The Pitt Panthers aren't expected to extend their streak of two straight years with an first-round NFL Draft pick, but that doesn't mean their graduating class is devoid of strong prospects.

In fact, one NFL scout told The Athletic for its "2024 Draft Confidential" piece, wherein scouts, executives and coaches give honest evaluations of prospects under the condition of anonymity, that Pitt corner and Aliquippa native, M.J. Devonshire is a potential starting-caliber player.

“I think he might be an NFL starting corner," the anonymous scout said. "Ran 4.4. Really long arms. Picks the ball off. Returns kicks. This is a good player.”

Devonshire has impressive tape, spending the past two seasons as the Panthers' top cover cornerback. He also turned with his speed during NFL Combine and Pro Day testing but his underwhelming size seems to have driven some scouts away. But at least one member of an NFL team's scouting office believes he is being underrated.

Devonshire, an Aliquippa native, one-upped his breakout 2022 campaign. He set career-highs in tackles for loss (0.5), interceptions (4) and passes defended (10). He ends his Pitt career with 83 tackles. 1.5 tackles for loss, eight interceptions. 

He won an ACC Championship, was named an All-ACC honorable mention at cornerback and second-team selection at punt returner in 2022 and capped his collegiate career with second-team all-conference honors as a cornerback. But no moment will ever stand out as boldly from Devonshire's career at as the 56-yard "Pitt Six" that was the deciding play in a win over West Virginia during the 2022 revival of the Backyard Brawl. 

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Stephen Thompson


Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper.  He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press.  During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.  You can reach Stephen by email at and follow him on Twitter. Read his latest work: