For the past two seasons, the left tackle position at Penn State has been manned very capably and somewhat quietly by Gerald Cadogan, the man who took over the key position in the Nittany Lions' offense after Levi Brown was selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
A humble and hard-working player, Cadogan became a highly-respected member of the Penn State community not only for how well he played football, but for what he did off the field as well.
A Dean's List student, Cadogan balanced his very full life with a passion for music, his personal faith and community service. The Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation are just two of the many organizations he supported off the field while also serving on the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Board.
The 6-foot-5, 309-pound lineman has plenty of game experience at both the tackle and guard position, and he's both athletic and intelligent enough to play either position successfully at the next level. The Oakland, California native has drawn interest from a number of NFL teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.
He recently discussed his career at Penn State and his pre-draft experience with me in this exclusive Scout.com interview.
Ed Thompson: In what ways do you think you helped your draft stock at the NFL Combine?
Gerald Cadogan: At the Combine, I had the goal of just going in there and showing that I can compete with everybody else. I just wanted to show how competitive I am, display my athleticism and dispel any myths about me not being strong enough or not fast enough.
Thompson: You certainly are fast enough. You posted one of the top times in the 40. Did you expect to do as well as you did?
Cadogan: Originally, when I got the number of my 40-time I was a little disappointed. But just seeing how I ranked with everyone else, I think the track in general was a little slow. I wanted to shoot for a 5-flat or a 4.99, but I'm happy with my results in comparison to everyone else.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Thompson: I know you've always been strong in the area of academics. Has that also helped you in terms of absorbing the playbook and breaking down film?
Cadogan: Yeah, that just goes to my work ethic on and off the field and my commitment to a task. If I set my mind that I'm going to do something, I'm a man of my word and I'm going to do it.
Thompson: You were a two-year starter at left tackle, but prior to that you were playing some guard weren't you?
Cadogan: Yeah, I played left guard beside Levi Brown in 2006. That was just a great experience to learn from Levi. He was a top-five pick, so I got to see what it takes to be a dominating offensive lineman.
Thompson: Gerald, I know you're a guy who does pretty well in picking up the blitz. Talk about what you look for when you're up at the line that gives you a sense of what's going to be coming at you.
Cadogan: I think one of my strengths is anticipation of stunts. That's just basically studying film and knowing that in this defensive alignment what stunts come out of that alignment. Watching the linebackers, if they're cheating out, if the defensive end is cheating the stance at all, just picking up on those little things to give you the edge to anticipate a stunt or a possible blitz.
Thompson: When you were awarded All-Big Ten honors, was that one of the highlights of your career?
Cadogan: Definitely. That was one of my goals going into my senior year. I wanted to establish that I was one of the better tackles in the Big Ten. That was a great honor and a privilege.
Thompson: I know you do an awful lot in the community, which is really admirable. Tell me about some of your favorite community activities that you've supported.
Cadogan: At Penn State I was involved in a program that was called PSU Life Link. It was working with kids who have special needs who are in high school and State College classes. Just trying to teach them basic life skills—how to budget a checkbook, healthy eating habits and different things like that. Back home, my mom is the founder and director of the homeless shelter. So every time I'm home, I'm involved with the homeless shelter, helping out in any way I can.
Thompson: You're also a very talented musician. Talk a little bit about a few of the instruments you play and also your singing background.
Cadogan: I grew up in a church, so I have a Gospel background. Music has always been a big part of my life, and actually, it's my second passion next to football. I play the drums, piano and I played the trumpet in high school. I have two independent CDs, they're Gospel CDs, just music that I wrote. One was in high school and the other was in my sophomore year in college. It's just going through what God has been teaching me in my life and just trying to encourage other people to stay strong and look for the Lord.
Read more about Gerald Cadogan through the links on his Scout.com profile page.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or contact him by email through this link.