The annual NFL Scouting Combine officially kicked off in Indianapolis yesterday. The week-long event is a chance for hundreds of draft eligible players to get in front of scouts, coaches, and management from all 32 teams in the league both on the field, and perhaps just as importantly, off of it in individual meetings. The Nittany Lions will have 4 representatives, linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, center Matt Stankiewitch, and defensive tackle Jordan Hill.
Hill and Hodges are virtual locks to be drafted. Both are currently projected in the 3rd to 4th rounds, depending on the service you trust. Mauti and Stankiewitch are borderline late round/free agents, but could certainly make a move up teams draft boards with a strong showing in Indy. Here’s a quick summary of what to expect, and keep an eye on for each player over the next few days.
Jordan was the anchor of a dominant PSU defensive line this year, but lacks the prototypical size for a DT that would likely push him up into the earlier rounds. Hill is listed at 6’2″, 294 lbs, with 32″ arm length. I’ll tell you why that matters to the NFL in a minute. But first, the positives. Jordan’s smaller stature compared to other tackles makes him a much quicker player, and very good 1 on 1, or in space. The NFL loves his motor and “never quit” attitude. Unfortunately for him, those 32″ arms are seen as short, and he is not viewed as being exceptionally strong in the upper body. Both of those cause him to be overpowered at times. It will be key for Jordan to show that quickness that helps make up for his lack of size and elite strength, while maybe throwing up a few more reps on the bench press than is expected. He is also sure to impress in interviews with teams.
Next: Gerald Hodges