PSU pro day gives prospects last chance to impress
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Shuttle runs. Forty-yard dashes. Broad jumps.
After running through pro day Monday at Penn State before about 20 NFL scouts, defensive tackle Jordan Hill is finally done with the kinds of drills and agility tests required for most draft prospects.
"How many times have you ever seen me jump in a game," Hill asked rhetorically with a chuckle to reporters after his workout.
Hill and linebacker Gerald Hodges are probably the Nittany Lions' two best draft prospects. The seniors helped guide a tough defense that helped Penn State finish 8-4 in coach Bill O'Brien's first year.
For known commodities like Hill, who was invited to NFL combine, Monday presented a chance to improve on particular skills. Hill said he decreased his 40-yard dash time to 4.97 seconds. And he went 111 inches in the broad jump, seven better than in Indianapolis at the combine.
The difference? More rest, and less stress than in hectic Indianapolis.
He doesn't mind the agility tests. It's just that there's more pressure when dozens of scouts, executives and media are breaking down your every move. And he's doing all of this, while also finishing up his degree requirements.
When asked about the end of the process, Hill said "he was more relieved than anything else. Just because I get to do the stuff (now) that I've been doing my whole life."
Hill has been mentioned as a possible third- or fourth-round pick. Hodges said he's hoping to go in the second or third.
Hodges said his main goal on Monday was to "just come out here and be a little more sharper on the drills ... I just wanted to get out there and look a little fresher coming into the day."
The athletic Hodges said he was measured for a 35.1-inch vertical jump on Monday. He's had interviews, he said, with Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, Minnesota and Tampa Bay, among other teams.
Hodges is hoping his ability to learn the tweaked defensive system under O'Brien will help show NFL scouts he can pick up new schemes quickly.
"I'm not nervous any more. I feel that all the pressure is off my shoulders," Hodges said. "I'm waiting for the day that I can suit up in an NFL uniform."
Hodges combined with fellow senior Michael Mauti to form one of the best outside linebacker duos in the country. But Mauti missed the emotional 24-21 win in the season finale over Wisconsin after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the third injury to a knee in his otherwise impressive Penn State career.