Pittsburgh notebook: Friday edition

INDIANAPOLIS – Levi Brown doesn't look at mock drafts because "it doesn't mean anything." But if he did, the Penn State left tackle might start dreaming about the high life.

Rated as a mid first-rounder throughout most of his college season, Brown's name is being scratched in as high as No. 5, where the Arizona Cardinals and new line coach Russ Grimm will be drafting.

Brown is a lock to become the second offensive tackle taken in the draft. The only change would occur if he passes Joe Thomas and becomes the first tackle taken.

"Joe Thomas is a great athlete," said Brown. "He deserves all of the recognition he is getting. If he's taken first I'll congratulate him. I hope if I get taken first he'll congratulate me."

Brown measured into the combine at 6-foot-5, 323. He's one of those tackles who converted from the defensive line and brought with him a nasty attitude. It manifests itself in his run blocking.

"I like to run into a guy, knock him on his back, talk a little mess on the way down and help him up, make it look good," he said.

"I'm a great athlete, I love to play the game, I have the ability to dominate anybody. I do plan on making it to a lot of Pro Bowls in my career."

His pro career starts this weekend when he'll "compete" in all of the drills. He expects to run the 40 in 5.0 and hopes to increase his bench-press reps from 27 to 30. The rest, he believes, will be a piece of cake.

"You just have to learn attitude," he said. "You just have to go out there and dominate every player."

ON THE HUNT

Penn State running back Tony Hunt isn't sure he'll run the 40 here this weekend, and he doesn't think it should matter.

"I don't know how much you can tell about a guy from watching him run a 40," Hunt said. "There's no point in a football game where you're just going to come out of a start and run 40 yards straight. I think just watching somebody's football film is the best way to evaluate them because you're drafting a football player not a 40-yard dash runner."

And Hunt is a football player. He ended his season with a 158-yard game against Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. Most of his damage was done in the fourth quarter.

Hunt was named the game's co-MVP and then won the MVP award at the Senior Bowl. His stock is skyrocketing. Scouts consider him a high second-round prospect.

Yesterday, Hunt weighed in at 235 pounds at 6-1 5/8. With Michael Bush a medical question mark, Hunt is the draft's top big back. But he said he's more than that.

"We were expected to be able to do everything," he said. "It wasn't like we had certain backs play certain situations. I played the whole game so I had to be able to run the ball, catch the ball, block, protect the quarterback. I had to do everything."

TO THE HINTERLANDS?

California running back Marshawn Lynch checked in at 5-11, 215 and expects to run in the 4.3s this weekend. He ran a 4.36 earlier in the month and is being pegged on most mock drafts as the 16th pick by the Green Bay Packers.

"Down at API, where I was working out at, the guys would come in and tell me, ‘Get ready to pack your ear muffs, your gloves and a big coat. You're going to Green Bay,'" he said. "That wouldn't bother me at all. I'll be happy to play wherever."

The Steelers could save Lynch from the Packers. They're picking 15th and need a running back. Behind Willie Parker on the roster is one player – John Kuhn.

COACH PALKO?

It might be a sign of his sinking draft status, but the first question put to Tyler Palko was whether he intends to get into coaching.

"I'm really trying to focus on playing right now," Palko said.

Not that his career is in imminent danger, but the Pitt quarterback struggled at the Senior Bowl. It appeared as if his arm strength had slipped from "below average" during the season to "weak" after it.

"I wish I would have done a little better," he said. "But things happen and things don't always work out the way you want them to. You have to keep working."

QUOTABLE

Ohio State center and Steelers fan Doug Datish on a mistake he made during interviews:

"One of the questions they asked me was if I've ever had a stiff back. I said, yeah, hasn't everybody? Because of that statement, I got to go have two MRIs and a CAT scan on my occasionally stiff back. Money well spent I guess. I was there for about six hours."


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