Draft: Conner Leads Penn State Hopefuls

Dan Conner was the top rated linebacker available in the 2008 NFL Draft until Ohio State's Vernon Gholston started taking off up Draft boards. Conner is still among the top 5 at his position. The Patriots have scouted Conner and his fellow teammate Justin King. Get inside for more on how they fared working out for a number of NFL teams.

originally published Mar 20, 2008 at FOS

Scout.com's Penn State site, FightOnState.com received a number of reports from their sources regarding Penn State's Pro Day event that was held on Tuesday [Mar 18,2008] at University Park. NFL personnel from a host of teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, among others were on hand.

Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers was spotted among those in attendance to watch the Nittany Lions go through their paces.

Here are the player reports as provided by FightOnState.com:

Senior linebacker Dan Connor ran a 4.70-second 40-yard dash. One observer said, "Dan looked relaxed. He had a good run. Some coaches were nodding and commenting that 'he looks good' after his run." Connor ran individual position drills and "looked good with his hands and showed good agility and coordination."

Connor also ran a 4.71. These were hand-held times, so different scouts could have slightly different numbers.

CB Justin King greets fans after the Outback Bowl in 2007.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Junior cornerback Justin King participated in drills. However, due to his blistering 4.31 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, he opted to bypass the event on Tuesday. "Justin said he's made the impression he needs to with his speed, so he was looking to show agility and footwork."

Another observer said King was impressive in coverage drills. "He looked really good. He dropped about two balls total out of 20 thrown at him."

Anthony Morelli ran his 40s in the 4.9 - 5.1-second range. He also tossed balls in individual drills. "He looked sharp in the pitch-and-catch drills. Some of the scouts were discussing a Drill 6 (7-on-7) look to see him get some coverage work."

However, there were not enough personnel to run such a drill.

Another observer agreed that Morelli looked good in "fast-ball warm ups," but hurt himself with a lack of consistency during the main portion of his workout. "He just was not crisp at all."

Running back Austin Scott, who was kicked off the team midway through the 2007 season due to legal troubles, participated Tuesday and was impressive.

"He ran well, looked sharp and in shape," an observer said. "I'd say he was the star of the day, if only because he was a real question mark coming in."

Rodney Kinlaw didn't seem to help himself too much on Pro Day. He ran the 40 in the 4.49 - 5.0-second range. He probably needed to have a better showing in the speed department given his lack of size. Observers said Scott performed much better overall in the drills.

One expert told us he didn't do enough to get himself into the draft, but that his return skills — which he did NOT get a chance to display Tuesday — will get him a look as a free agent.

Nolan McCready, a surprise addition to the event, ran a 4.55-range 40-yard dash.

For great year-round coverage of Penn State sports, visit FightOnState.com.

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