Our ex-Nittany Lions did reasonably well in the NFL Draft, with five former PSU players being drafted, including one in the first round.
As expected, defensive end Aaron Maybin was snapped up in the first round as #11 overall pick. The lucky NFL team is the Buffalo Bills, who will probably give him a lot of playing time in the forthcoming season. He joins another ex-Lion there, linebacker Paul Pozluszny, who will be entering his third year. Initially, the knock on Maybin was that he needed to bulk up to play in the NFL. Then, when he did, some pundits were heard to say that he bulked up too fast. However, all’s well that ends well, and #11 overall is a happy ending with a fat contract to sign.
Not so lucky was the other early entry from the Penn State defensive line, Maurice Evans. Undrafted, he might now want to question the advice given to him to come out early, although it is now too late. Some NFL team will probably take a chance on him as a free agent at a bargain price. Evans got himself in trouble during the past season at Penn State, and the NFL owners look unkindly at potential draftees with the “character flag” associated with their scouting reports. Thus, Evans might better have been served by playing another year and keeping his nose clean.
Two out of Penn State’s Big Three receivers entering the draft were snapped up in Round Three. Derrick Williams went to the Detroit Lions with the 82nd overall pick, while Deon Butler was picked 91st overall by the Seattle Seahawks. Williams will have a great opportunity with the formerly hapless Lions, who are now in an intensive rebuilding phase subsequent to the end of the disastrous Matt Millen era. Matt Stafford of Georgia, the #1 overall pick, will ultimately be the quarterback throwing to Williams. Meanwhile, Butler goes to another club that is doing some rebuilding. Butler can be expected to get some immediate reps not only at wide receiver, but also returning punts and kickoffs. As you might recall, Bobby Engram spent several years with the Seahawks. Too bad he won’t be there to mentor Butler. He was traded to Kansas City, where he can babysit with Larry Johnson for a while.
Two offensive linemen were chosen in later rounds. Rich Ohrnberger went to the New England Patriots in Round Four. Finally, A. Q. Shipley was chosen midway through the final round by this Turkey’s own favorite Pittsburgh Steelers, where he hopes to join a long line of Pro-Bowl and Hall of Fame centers.
Aside from Maurice Evans, Gerald Cadogan, Jordan Norwood, and Lydell Sargeant were not drafted. However, shortly after the conclusion of the draft, Norwood signed with the Cleveland Browns and Cadogan agreed to an offer made by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Internet rumors suggest that the New York Giants will pick up Evans, while the Bills will grab Sargeant.
Among other undrafted free agents who did not participate in the draft, Josh Gaines looks to be going to the Philadelphia Eagles, Mark Rubin to the St. Louis Rams, and Tony Davis to the Arizona Cardinals. There is no word as yet about Anthony Scirrotto and Tyrell Sales.
How did Penn State’s draft class compare with other schools? I’m glad you asked. In the Big Ten, Ohio State led with seven draftees, followed by Penn State with five, and Iowa and Wisconsin, tied with four each. The overall winner of the draft sweepstakes was USC, with 11 selected, including three first-rounders.