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March 14, 2012Wednesday afternoon was no time to be inside on what amounted to a stunningly beautiful 68 degree day in Happy Valley.
For more than a dozen Nittany Lions, there was good reason to be in Holuba Hall, though.
With an estimated 25-30 NFL scouts and coaches on hand, many seniors and a few past Nittany Lions took part in Penn State Football's 2012 NFL Pro Day. Whether trying to increase their stock for the NFL Draft in April, hoping to catch enough eyes to earn an invite to an NFL mini-camp, or simply trying to get back into the game, the former Lions put forth their best efforts.
Here's a look at Blue White Illustrated's news and notes from the day:
- The headliner of Penn State's class is going to be defensive tackle Devon Still. Projected as a potential first round draft choice, Still went into the day hoping to improve his stock after a personally disappointing performance at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February.
Saddled by turf toe in his final game with the Nittany Lions at the TicketCity Bowl, Still told BWI that he was forced to miss his first three weeks of training in Miami until getting back to at least 80 percent.
With that in mind, Still's position drills at the Combine were the first he had participated in the events since before the injury, he said.
"I'm feeling much better since the Combine because during the on-field drills at the Combine, it was my first time doing drills since I was here at Penn State," Still said. "And I only got to practice my 40 about a week before I went to the Combine. So, my toe got better after the Combine and I was able to practice more and more, so I felt a little bit more fluid doing my drills and doing the 40 today."
Projected as a first round draft choice, Still said that he's hoping to get an invite to the NFL Draft's first day in New York, but is ultimately uncertain as to where he'll end up or how high he's expecting to be drafted.
"I'm hearing all over the place. I'm hearing top ten, top 15," he said. "It's very frustrating not knowing but you can't control when that stuff happens. What you have to focus on is whatever team you get drafted to and make as big of an impact as you can. So, I'm not really worried about where I get drafted as much as I am about impacting a team."
Still added that he has been told he could play either the three or five-technique defensive tackle position at the next level, which would allow him to fit into either a 3-4 or 4-3 system.
- Offensive lineman Johnnie Troutman is another Nittany Lion projecting to land somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft, according to his agent, he said.
Weighing in at a robust 329 pounds, Troutman said he was pleased to have lowered his 40-yard time down to the high 5.3s, low 5.4s. He didn't bench on Wednesday after putting up 31 reps at the Combine.
After a somewhat tumultuous career at Penn State, Troutman said he's simply looking forward to earning an opportunity at the next level.
"I'll honestly just be happy to be drafted and happy to be on a team, wherever that is," he said. "My main goal was to make a roster, not to get drafted."
- Running back Stephfon Green was one of the few Nittany Lions who appeared to be disappointed in his performance on Wednesday afternoon. Clearly having added weight from his post-season workouts, Green checked in with 17 reps on the bench, a 9-foot-10-inch broad jump and a 33-inch vertical leap.
Saying that he's unhappy running a 40-yard dash in anything outside of the 4.2 range, he acknowledged that maybe he'd held some unreasonable expectations for himself.
"It was a mediocre day. I'm my hardest critic, so I feel like I could have done a lot of things better than what I did today," he said. "Looking back, I just felt like I could have done more. I don't know what I could have done, I just felt like I could have done more."
Though he plans to stick around State College for any potential individual workouts, Green said he's had interest from the Canadian Football League if a future in the NFL doesn't work out.
"It's a whole different ballgame when it comes to the NFL. But, even if this doesn't work out, I have some CFL tryouts down in Jacksonville. Nothing is guaranteed here, so if it doesn't work out here, I'll be up in Canada playing ball."
- Wide receiver Derek Moye, tight end Andrew Szczerba, fullback Joe Suhey, cornerback D'Anton Lynn, safeties Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay, offensive linemen Chima Okoli and Quinn Barham, linebacker Nate Stupar, and cornerback Chaz Powell were among the most recent graduating class to also workout at Pro Day on Wednesday.
Former players who participated in Pro Day included quarterback Daryll Clark, running back Tony Hunt, and defensive end Maurice Evans.
Clark only threw passes, but was said to have looked good in his workout and is hoping for an invite to a camp.
Others present included Stefen Wisniewski, Anthony Adams, and Jared Odrick, as well as a handful of current players on hand to spectate.
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