NEPD Staff Writer: Matthew Jones
Penn State’s roster may have been decimated over the summer, but there were still some interesting 2013 NFL Draft prospects on display against the Virginia Cavaliers.
Penn State Nittany Lions
C #54 Matt Stankiewitch (6’3″, 300)
Clears a rushing line by walling off his assignment on the first carry of the game
Appears to have some trouble dealing with power in pass protection; driven back
Penn State converts a quarterback sneak on fourth down rushing behind Stankiewitch
Lacks functional strength; does not drive players backwards very often, even linebackers
Overview: Stankiewitch is a squat, well-coached center who doesn’t offer significant upside at the next level due to his lack of functional strength. He doesn’t appear to have much of a killer instinct and is more of an adequate blocker than an impressive one. He projects as a late-round pick and reserve center.
DT #47 Jordan Hill (6’1″, 295)
Chases a screen to the outside and makes an assisted tackle on the play
Looks quick off of the line of scrimmage but didn’t get much penetration in the first quarter
Diagnoses another screen pass and comes up with a key second-quarter interception
Gets through the offensive line easily and records a quarterback hit on Michael Rocco
Overview: Hill is undersized, but his impressive motor, range, and instincts should earn him a spot in the draft. He was not incredibly effective as either a pass rusher or run stuffer but came up with a big interception and impressed in the screen game as well. He projects as a late-round rotational tackle.
DE #59 Pete Massaro (6’4″, 255)
Rotates in and out of the game; sometimes utilized in a very wide alignment
More of a bull rusher who relies on his burst and arm length to get the QB
Overcommits to the pass and ends up inadvertently clearing a big running lane
Seems to have some trouble shedding blocks in the run game; overpowered
Overview: Massaro has the size and bulk which will appeal to pro teams, but didn’t really show up much in the game against a Virginia offensive line which boasts two legitimate prospects. He may not be quite athletic enough to stand up as a 3-4 outside linebacker, either. At this point Massaro may have to make a pro roster as an undrafted free agent.
OB #6 Gerald Hodges (6’2″, 235)
Impressive range; chases a screen pass to the sidelines an collects an assisted tackle
Diagnoses an outside run very quickly, but the play is whistled dead via penalty
Allows a completion but shows nice form on the subsequent tackle
Blitzes off of the edge and records a quarterback hit after beating Morgan Moses
Rushes off of the edge fairly often and did a surprisingly good job in that capacity
Tackling technique is impressive, but plays conservatively in coverage
Overview: Hodges did a little bit of everything in this game: defended the run, rushed the passer, and made some zone drops in coverage. His most success came as a pass rusher, although he lacks the bulk to play OLB in the 3-4. His best fit will likely come as a 4-3 SLB, and he should go in the third round or so.
IB #42 Michael Mauti (6’2″, 230)
Puts a big hit on a receiver in zone coverage, nearly forcing an incompletion
Lack of size makes it difficult for him to take on and shed blocks in the run game
Ends up on the ground too often; lacks bulk and has trouble with his balance
Allows TE McGee to convert on third down and 20 by getting beat in coverage
Diagnoses a pass over the middle and makes a diving one-handed deflection
Recovers a fumble on a strip sack made by his teammate Barnes (#18)
Makes a very quick tackle as a member of the punt coverage unit
Prevents Perry Jones from making it to the outside; records a sideline tackle
Overview: Mauti showed up on the field more often than Hodges, for both good and bad reasons. He must add bulk in order to hold up against blockers at the next level, but appears to play with a high motor and is fairly instinctive as well. His contributions on special teams helped his cause, and he should go on the third day of the draft.
Virginia prospects are on page two.