I’m watching the NFL Draft out of one eye as I do chores and office tasks. A little more than halfway through the first round, DE Tamba Hali was selected #20 by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he will join fellow Nittany Lion RB Larry Johnson. In fact, Hali was the first PSU player selected in the first round since Larry Johnson in 2003. Three Ohio State players have been selected so far in the first round (LB A.J. Hawk, as expected, #4 to Green Bay, S Donte Whitner #8, to Buffalo, and LB Bobby Carpenter #18, to Dallas). The big surprises have been NC State DE Mario Williams being chosen as #1 overall, and USC QB Matt Leinart sinking to #10.
The pundits had made Tamba Hali a “maybe” first round pick, because he did not perform well at tryouts. He was originally expected to be selected higher. Kansas City gets a great bargain—both as a man and a player.
Alan Zemaitis is also expected to be selected on the first day, although probably not in the first round. The knock on Zemaitis is that because his primary experience is playing soft zones, he might not fit well with some of the NFL pass coverage schemes. Pundits are viewing him as a DB in a Cover Two scheme, or possibly moving him to FS.
Michael Robinson is a great, big crapshoot for whomever selects him, no doubt in a later round if at all.
In all, twelve Penn State players are draft eligible: academic bad boy Lavon Chisley, Chris Harrell, Ethan Kilmer, Calvin Lowry, Scott Paxson, Anwar Phillips, Tyler Reed, Matthew Rice, Isaac Smolko, along with Hali, Robinson, and Zemaitis.
And my favorite jerk from the end of last season, Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick, will probably garner little interest. I hope not.
When the draft concludes, I’ll be back to let you know how our guys did.