It’s said that strong winds make the best sailors. If that’s the case, consider former Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still one of the best “sailors” in the 2012 NFL draft.
If you read into the Penn State association, you already assume that Still withstood the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and the death of longtime head coach Joe Paterno. Those obstacles were the proverbial icing on the hardship cake for Still.
“I’ve been through a lot since I’ve been at Penn Sate, but that just helped me grow mentally,” Still said Saturday afternoon. “There’s a lot of obstacles that I’ve already faced. I think that’s going to benefit me a lot moving on.”
Still tore his ACL and MCL in his first season at Penn State and then broke his ankle in his second season. Two years on the team and just one game played doesn’t exactly set the tone for an NFL career. Add to that the fact that Still became a first-time father to daughter, Leah, in April 2010. Those circumstances would have knocked many a player off the NFL track. Oh, what a difference confidence makes.
“I think hands down I’m the best defensive tackle in this draft,” Still said. “I was able to take over a lot of games this season. Just the production I had, I was able to disrupt plays even if I wasn’t making tackles or sacks.”
Widely considered as the best defensive tackle in this year’s draft by analysts, Still probably won’t be on the draft board when the Broncos select with the No. 25 pick. If he somehow slipped down the board, the Broncos would gobble him up in an instant. The 6’5,” 302 pound Still had 55 tackles (17 for a loss) and 4.5 sacks his senior year.
He would be an asset to anyone’s run defense, especially the Broncos because they already have the pass rush. You can only prepare so much for Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Adding Still to the mix to clog the middle of the field would spell all kinds of trouble for opposing teams.
Since ending his college career, Still has been working out at the University of Miami. He did fly back for Joe Paterno’s memorial.
“What I experienced playing under Joe Paterno, people that played back in the 60’s, and the 70’s, and the 80’s, they all have similar stories,” Still said. “That just shows you that he’s remained the same coach the whole time through…I think highly of coach Paterno. I think he’s the reason why I am who I am here today.”
As for who Still models his game after, he takes a rather unique stance.
“I don’t think I would model my game after anybody,” Still said. “My goal throughout college and my goal getting into the NFL is to make my own mark, have somebody style their game after mine.”
Orange and blue would look great on Still, that is if someone somehow misses this steal of a player.