Penn State Football: 3 Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day
The NFL combine may have just concluded, but there's still another chance for former Nittany Lions to showcase their talents in front of scouts before the draft.
On April 8, a handful of players will participate in drills during Penn State's pro day. They'll be run through a gauntlet of physical drills while personnel from various NFL teams look on.
Only three Penn Staters—Allen Robinson, DaQuan Jones and John Urschel—traveled to Indianapolis for the combine. For those who weren't invited, the pressure is turned up for them to impress come pro day.
Here are three players who have the most to prove when that day comes.
Garry Gilliam, Offensive Tackle
You won't find Garry Gilliam's name high up on a mock draft. This makes pro day all the more important for him.
A former defensive end and then tight end, Gilliam decided on a move to offensive tackle during the spring of 2013. He did so to help the team's depth issue—Penn State was loaded with tight ends, but lacked bodies on the offensive line.
Gilliam played in 11 games last season, making four starts. He was part of a heavy offensive line rotation, splitting time with Adam Gress in Mac McWhorter's scheme.
If Gilliam has one thing working for him right now, it's his athleticism. Though he added nearly 40 pounds to play in the trenches, he did so without sacrificing much athletic ability.
At this stage in the game, Gilliam appears to be a project. A good pro day might not skyrocket his draft stock, but it will put teams on alert to give him a call soon after the draft concludes.
With how the pro game has evolved, a lineman's athletic ability is something that NFL teams really look for. Gilliam hasn't even played tackle for an entire year yet, but it only takes one team to recognize untapped potential and pull the trigger.
Glenn Carson, Linebacker
Despite a productive career at Penn State, Glenn Carson wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. Pro day will be his next chance to impress NFL scouts.
He did take part in the East-West Shrine Game, where he played alongside teammates John Urschel and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong. Carson assisted on four tackles during the game.
A hard-nosed player (and former wrestler), Carson was a tackling machine at Penn State. He's also an intelligent player with a good physical makeup for the next level.
Carson's good at stopping the run, but he wasn't always the best in pass coverage. Early in his career, Carson was taken off the field at times during passing situations. Over time, he improved.
While his film will play a huge role in how he's viewed, excelling in speed and agility drills during pro day will help too. Right now, he projects to be a late-round selection. A good pro day could very well push his stock into mid-round territory.
Since 2007, seven former Nittany Lion linebackers have been drafted. Carson will look to become the eighth.
Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver
There's no question that wide receiver Allen Robinson will be the first Nittany Lion off the board come May. However, there are still questions about how fast he is.
Over the past two years, Robinson has showcased a variety of skills—superb route-running, great leaping ability and good vision, to name a few. Yet, his speed was always somewhat of an issue.
Robinson preformed well in a handful of drills at the combine, but his 40-yard dash left a lot to be desired. An official time of 4.60 seconds placed him ninth-worst amongst wide receivers in Indianapolis last week.
Tape doesn't lie, though, and Robinson will be coveted by a number of teams. Still, he makes the list because a good 40 time at Penn State's pro day could mean the difference between being a first- or second-round pick.
Per Over The Cap's estimate of the 2014 NFL rookie wage scale, the difference in total contract value between the last pick in the first round and the first pick in the second hovers around $1.3 million. If Robinson improves on his 40 time—say to around 4.5 seconds—he could end up with a more lucrative deal.
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