Whether a projected high-round draft pick or a borderline NFL player, 14 former Penn State players had an opportunity to display their abilities before scouts at Penn State’s Pro Day on Monday in Holuba Hall.
The results varied for the NFL hopefuls working out, but the common sentiment was a sense of relief that the stressful testing process — starting for some at the NFL Combine last month — is now over.
Defensive lineman Jordan Hill was one of the players who got a chance to showcase his talent at the combine and felt he underachieved in this setting, especially with his 40-yard dash time of 5.23 seconds. At Pro Day, though, Hill was told he clocked in at 4.97 seconds, and also improved in the broad jump category.
“The stress is off now,” Hill said. “All the numbers, all the testing, all that stuff, I’ll never have to do that again. So, I’m happy about that.”
The first-team All-Big Ten defender also noted that a lot of the testing activities don’t directly translate to one’s ability and conditioning on the field, asking jokingly how many times he has been seen doing a broad jump during a game.
However, players like Stephon Morris and Michael Zordich, who did not get invited to the combine, realized the importance of the official measurements coming from Monday’s workouts.
Morris said the times he received from scouts for his 40-yard dash varied — saying his first attempt that he “rolled into” was even clocked unofficially at 4.16 — but that his official time was likely in the 4.3 range.
“I didn’t go to the combine so with my stature, being 5-foot-8, it came down to my 40,” Morris said. “You can’t be 5-foot-8 and then run a 4.6 or something like that. So they were very impressed with my 40s today.”
The cornerback is a part of a list of former Lions — unlike Hill, Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti and Matt Stankiewitch, who participated at the combine — that are not as likely to be drafted.
But, the defensive back said he looked at Monday as a chance to begin to show scouts this notion should not be set in stone.
“The media has their list on who’s [going to be] drafted and things like that,” Morris said. “I mean there’s shockers of people that get drafted every year, so hopefully I’m one of those shockers and one of those people that get drafted.”
Matt McGloin said he understands he is in a similar boat, despite finishing his career with a record-breaking 2012 season at quarterback.
The Scranton product appeared realistic about his draft stock but said he has received interest from several NFL teams and hopes one decides to welcome him on to its roster.
“I showed some good arm strength [at Pro Day] and let a couple balls fly down the field to show that I have that arm strength and am capable of playing at the next level,” McGloin said.
“But, that’s just the way I felt. I’m sure a lot of people feel differently than that. But, like I’ve said, it only takes one team to fall in love with you. So, we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, for those expecting to be drafted in April, the goals differ based on the player.
Stankiewitch said he’ll be happy regardless of when he’s drafted, while Hodges agreed with Hill that getting drafted after the third round would be a disappointment.
“I’d be upset, too, if I went down [to the fourth round],” Hodges said.
“[But] as long as I have a chance to play in the NFL, it’s a dream come true. It doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s just your performance once you get there.”