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Penn State Pro Day: Defenders draw a crowd

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill was still recovering from a knee scope at the combine and yet elected to run through drills anyway. The result was a 5.23-second time in the 40-yard dash and an 8-foot-7-inch broad jump.

Neither demonstrated the explosiveness that scouts associated with the 6-foot-1, 303-pound defensive tackle, who'd earned First Team All Big Ten honors with a breakout 2012 season (64 tackles, 8 1/2 tackles for loss, 4 1/2 sacks).

With time to heal, Hill was much better March 11 at Penn State's Pro Day, reportedly shaving more than a quarter second from his fastest 40-yard dash time in Indianapolis with a 4.97-second time. Hill also added eight inches to his broad jump.

Gerald Hodges, 6-foot-1, 243 pounds, surprisingly elected not to attempt an improvement on a less than ideal time of 4.78 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He did, however, demonstrate very good agility in the short-shuttle drill (4.25 seconds) and a solid 35 1/2-inch vertical jump after not testing in these drills in Indianapolis.

While Hill and Hodges' improvements since the combine are noteworthy, the most impactful workout may have been the stunning 40-yard dash times from diminutive cornerback Stephon Morris, who was clocked at 4.35 seconds. The 5-foot-8, 168-pound defender also recorded a 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump.

Recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, Michael Mauti was unable to work out for scouts Monday. According to linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden, however, Mauti is progressing well.

“He's way ahead of schedule and from what I hear everything is going good,” Vanderlinden said. “Hopefully he'll get into the NFL and all his injuries will be behind him."

Scouts and coaches from 23 NFL teams were represented at the workout. Among the teams represented were the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.

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