14 THURSDAY, April 27, 2006

Penn State players ready to jump to the NFL
and likely more than five, players picked for NFL rosters before Mr. Irrelevant. “A lot of them looked impressive,” an NFC scout said at the March 16 Pro Day. “It’s a pretty good group years. overall.” One year and an 11-1 season later, there’s no chance of that hapThe group has its first-day sure pening. Seven players were invited to shots (Tamba Hali, Alan Zemaitis), the NFL combine, and 12 more joined and it’s not without intrigue — at them for workouts at Penn State’s Pro what position will Michael Robinson Day — that will equate to at least one, play? There’s more defensive talent ast April, the NFL Draft completely passed Penn State by — in 255 picks, no players were selected, for the first time in 54

On the clock




than offensive — six of the seven players invited to the combine were on defense. And, many of the players have a question mark — size, speed, potential — attached to them. That’s how they began the 2005 season, though, and they ended with Big Ten championship rings. Nineteen Penn State players are now looking for another shot — in the pros — to prove themselves.


an Shonka, general manager at Ourlads.com, helps the Collegian break down Penn State’s draft day. Shonka was an NFL scout for 16 years with Philadelphia, Washington and Kansas City before moving to Ourlads.com.

Looking forward to an early phone call

Kathryn MacNeil/Collegian

Jeremy Drey/Collegian

Tamba Hali (6’2”, 263) DE
Description: Dominant defensive end who may be one of the best pass rushers in the draft, but hurt his stock somewhat by running 4.86 and 4.88 40s. Has long arms and big hands to control blockers. Good lateral strength but needs more anchor strength at point of attack. What he lacks in size, he makes up with raw talent and a great work ethic. On the field, it’s as if his motor never stops running. He would fit well in a 4-3 scheme, similar to Penn State’s defense. What catches the eye: Eleven sacks for 79 yards lost in 2005. Shonka says: He goes late first or early second round, No. 53 to Washington. Collegian says: No way this guy slips that far. Late first round.

Alan Zemaitis (6’1”, 196) CB
Description: A good cover-2 corner with quick feet and good size. Scouts liked Zemaitis early, but believe his 4.56 and 4.59 40-times may be too slow to match up with elite receivers. Plays well when keeping the ball in front of him and is solid in run support. Has good instincts and a knack for big plays — stripped Michigan quarterback Chad Henne of the ball and returned it for a score in 2005. What catches the eye: Six interceptions in 2005. Shonka says: Third round. Collegian says: No complaint there, third round.

May have to wait another day
Anwar Phillips (5’11”, 190) CB
Description: Another cover-2 guy and would fit well in a bump-and-run role. Known as an active player. Scouts question his hands, saying he cradles the ball. Word on the street is that he could be tricked by the playaction and doesn’t have the recovery speed to make up for those mistakes. Known as a light hitter at Penn State, his tackling ability is a concern. What catches the eye: Orange Bowl performance — four tackles and solid coverage. Shonka says: Fourth or fifth round. Collegian says: Some scouts project him ahead of Zemaitis, but we say fourth round.
Michael Ghourdjian/Collegian

Michael Ghourdjian/Collegian

Description: Good instincts and anticipation, breaks well on the ball. Smart and durable. Scouts love his attitude — they say he looks like he’s having fun on the field. In a 16-game season with a preseason and playoffs, that will go a long way. Also important, he’s got some speed. He ran his 40s in 4.49 and 4.51 at Penn State’s Pro Day. Characterized as a safe punt catcher; he can catch the ball but returning it is a concern. What catches the eye: 79 tackles, four interceptions in 2005. Shonka says: Fourth or fifth round — reminds me of Mike Zordich. Collegian says: Early fifth.

Calvin Lowry (5’11”, 197) S

Michael Robinson (6’1”, 219) QB

Description: A do-it-all guy — he’s played wide receiver and quarterback at Penn State — and his experience at many positions will help him make a team. Most likely needs more development to play quarterback in the league and could spend time as a backup while Jeremy Drey/Collegian helping at another position. May find best chance as a running back — he rushed for 932 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2005. Also has the size to play safety and the ability to hit hard. Remember Minnesota? What catches the eye: Unquestionable leadership skills and knows how to win. Named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Shonka says: Fifth or sixth round — he’s definitely not a receiver. Collegian says: Fourth-round surprise.

Description: Similar to Hali in size and quickness. He’s a tad bigger, but a tad slower, too. Like Hali, he’s got the arm length to ward off blockers, and scouts think he’ll be tough against the run. Has a strong point of attack. Would work well in a 4-3 defensive scheme. What catches the eye: His 2005 football poster — Collegian File Photo five sacks look nice, too. Shonka says: Sixth round — could be a bargain. Collegian says: We like a deal, too. Late fifth or early sixth round.

Matthew Rice (6’4”, 270) DE

Likely free agents/undrafted
Chris Harrell, S; Tyler Reed, OL; Ethan Kilmer, WR/ST; Lance Antolick, C; Dorian Burton, LB; LaVon Chisley, DE; Paul Cronin, S; Scott Paxson, DT; Andrew Richardson, OL; Charles Rush, OL; E.Z. Smith, C; Isaac Smolko, TE; John Wilson, OL.
Courtesy of the National Football League

— Compiled by Josh Moyer and Andrew Staub

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