The Denver Broncos haven't had an elite interior D-Lineman in quite a few years. In fact, the last Defensive Tackle they drafted who lasted beyond Training Camp was Marcus Thomas. Marcus is currently a Free Agent who may or may not play for Denver in 2012. And Brodrick Bunkley went off and signed for some Big Easy money. Trevor Pryce was the last stud DT the Broncos drafted and that was so long ago I can hardly remember. I know I’m not alone in saying, "please EFX can we have a Defensive Tackle or two this year?"
Penn State’s Devon Still could be one of those guys for the Broncos with their 1st draft pick in 2012. Denver holds the 25th overall selection and Still could be available at that spot. At 6-5, 303 lbs, Devon has the size and the productivity to anchor the middle of the Broncos line.
Devon Still, born 07/11/1989 (age:22), is a 4 year Redshirt Senior for the Nittany Lions. He currently ranks 28th overall and is the 4th or 5th ranked defensive Tackle in the Country, depending on who you ask. Either way, he is expected to be selected in the 1st round in next week’s NFL Draft.
Still was named the 2011 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, becoming only the second Defensive Tackle to win the award (along with former teammate, Jared Odrick). He was also named Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, consensus All-Big Ten, and to 10 First team All-American teams. He was a finalist for both the Outland and Bednarik awards and was elected a team captain for the Nittany Lions as a senior in 2011.
This gifted athlete has been a workhorse in the weight room and in off-season conditioning workouts to increase strength and stamina. Having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee as a true freshman in 2007, Still's hard work in his rehabilitation seemingly went for naught when he suffered a broken ankle during preseason camp in 2008. He battled back to play in the regular-season finale with Michigan State that year and has emerged as a valuable contributor for the D-Line the past two seasons. Still has great physical attributes, talent and a hard-charging motor. He has demonstrated big-play capability and should be a leader and a significant contributor.
A starter in 25 games over the past two seasons, he led Penn State with 17 Tackles For Loss and tied for second with 4.5 sacks in 2011. Devon finished the season with 55 Tackles, one Forced Fumble, and one Fumble Recovery.
Devon earned an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, leading the team with 10 Tackles For Loss and 4.0 Sacks. A 12 game starter, Still made 39 Tackles and had one Pass Breakup. Still played over 700 snaps during 2010.
Playing in every game, Still made 19 stops, including 5.5 Tackles For Loss. He recorded two acks, including dropping Devonl recorded a minus-yardage play in five of the final six contests. Still was on the field for 348 plays.
Fellow PSU lineman Chris Bell reportedly pulled a knife on Still and threatened him after Still accused him of stealing a cell phone case from his locker; coaches stopped Bell before he could cause Still harm. After doing a great job in his rehabilitation of a torn ACL in his left knee, Devon entered preseason camp with an opportunity to earn a spot in the Defensive Tackle rotation. But, he was dealt another setback, suffering a broken left ankle in August. Driven by the desire to make his Penn State debut in 2008, Still again worked hard in his rehab and saw action on 10 snaps in the regular-season finale win over Michigan State.
During the first week of preseason drills, Still sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee, requiring surgery and ending his season.
2007: Suffered torn ligaments in his left knee during the preseason.
2008: Missed almost the entire season after breaking his left ankle in August, returning to play 10 snaps in the regular-season finale.
Fellow PSU lineman Chris Bell reportedly pulled a knife on Still before the 2008 season and threatened him after Still accused him of stealing a cell phone case from his locker; coaches stopped Bell before he could cause Still harm.
Devon has a pair of cousins that have made their mark in the NFL. Art Still played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Levon Kirkland was a standout with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still is a Graduate student enrolled in the crime, law and justice program.
40 Yard Time: 5.08 (4.92 Low)
Bench Press: 26 Reps
Vertical Jump: 29.5"
Arm Length: 33 1/4"
Hand Span: 10"
At his Pro Day:
40 Yard Time: 4.94
20 Yard Time: 2.84
10 Yard Time: 1.78
3-Cone Drill: 7.70
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.65
Still is one of the most NFL-ready interior lineman of this year's senior class and arguably one of the most polished and "safe" picks of the draft. He has massive size to clog lanes on the inside and occupy blocks. Still displays good technique to beat double teams and get to the passer, and the power to bowl over would-be blockers to be disruptive in the backfield. He has been a reliable and productive player throughout his time at Penn State. A team who needs to address their run defense and add a player who will occupy and keep linebackers free in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme will likely select Still in the middle of the first round as an immediate starter.
STRENGTHS: Still is a strong player who gets off the line quickly for his size and shows the explosion to blow back offensive guards into their own backfield. He excels as a run defender by using his strengths to occupy a blocker while he reads the play and reacts, which is ideal schematically for a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. He has the ability to use hand technique and footwork alike to remove himself from blocks and get in the backfield. For a massive nose tackle he is an above-average pass rusher who can use an array of swim and dip moves to get to the passer.
WEAKNESSES: While Still can rush the passer, it is rare that he actually gets there to make sack production as his athletic ability is rather average once he is exposed in the open field. He works tremendously in tight quarters but doesn't display that quickness or explosion when in the open field. This is true of his play in pursuit, as well. Once the ball gets past him he usually is done for the play.
CBSSports.com’s Scouting Report on Devon Still
Still did nothing to diminish his stock in the eyes of NFL evaluators at the 2012 Scouting Combine, but the crop of defensive tackles appears to be deeper than expected.
"I think hands down I'm the best defensive tackle in this draft, just because I feel like I want it more," said Still, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2-rated defensive tackle prospect behind LSU's Michael Brockers.
Still has to shake questions from scouts about whether he's a late bloomer or one-year wonder.
"I think I had a very average year my junior year and I never strive for being mediocre. I try to be the best that I can be," Still said. "I put in a lot of overtime during the offseason just to prepare myself to be one of the best in the country for my senior year and make my mark at Penn State."
"What drives me is that when I first started playing football, whenever I do something, I'm very competitive," he said. "I want to be the best at it. When I got injured my first two years at Penn State, a lot of people said I wouldn't be the same player as I was when I showed up on campus. I think that drove me just to prove everybody wrong. To this day, I don't think I'm where I need to be right now. I want to make my mark in the NFL, just as I did at Penn State, and become one of the best."
Pass rush: Comes fast and hard off the snap if given a step by backpedalling linemen in pass protection. Will work through the whistle. Tries to swim past his man when there is room to maneuver, bothering the quarterback but rarely getting there. Effective taking up two blockers and flashes some quickness outside on twists.
Run defense: Most productive against the run when slanting into the action. Strong at the point when keeping his pads low, but his height means a constant battle to prevent linemen from getting under his pads. Fights through doubles, at times still finding the ballcarrier through traffic. His anchor against doubles when not attacking the pocket is inconsistent; blown off the line too often. Good effort to reach ballcarriers coming into his area; keeps his eyes on them and can make the play even when moving back or losing his balance. Must work on defeating cut blocks with his hands.
Explosion: Combination of size and strength has not yet been harnessed. Inconsistent off the snap, more often last one to move than the first. Does not knock back better linemen. Fatigue becomes an issue later in game, losing his explosiveness off the ball and hustle.
Strength: Rarely dominates his man at the point. Capable of shedding with strong hands and tossing aside guards if their heads are down, but could do so more regularly.
Tackling: Wide body and long, strong arms envelop backs running between the tackles. Good vision and strength lets him bring down backs by a shoelace, even if falling to the ground. Possesses nimble feet and fair change of direction for his size; chases ballcarriers around the line and can stay with elusive backs after they make a move. Gives some chase to the sideline on quick throws and when backs try to run outside.
Intangibles: Suffered torn left ACL/MCL in August 2007, broken left ankle in August 2008. Cousin Art Still played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Another cousin, Levon Kirkland, was a standout linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The National Football Post thinks that Devon will become a starter during his rookie year and becomes a solid NFL player who has no real weakness. One that can’t be exploited or consistently taken out of games.
A tall, physically put together defensive lineman with good girth through the lower half, but has the frame to get even bigger. Possesses "plus" power and get off burst for his size, but is still learning how to put it all together. Has the ability to bend, as he at times keeps his base down and butt under him off the snap. And when he can gain leverage on contact the guy has the ability to consistently overwhelm at the point and dominate. Possesses good power on his bull rush, exhibits the strength to consistently drive blockers into the backfield and is also much more sudden laterally when his feet are under him. Has improved his overall pad level as a senior and has been much more balanced and consistent staying on his feet because if it. Displays some developing pass rushing skills, used his hands much better toward the end of the year in order to defeat blocks. Showcases a nifty arm over, some natural lateral quickness when trying to slip blocks and can simply overwhelm and/or pull the rug out from a blocker. When he gets high he can easily be stonewalled and has a somewhat inconsistent motor. However, to his credit he's done a much better job this year staying motivated throughout the course of the game.
When the pad level is down in the run game, the guy can anchor, shed and make plays off his frame. Is long armed, can gain inside leverage and use his power/quickness to rag doll blocks and disengage. Again, is doing a better job as a senior coming off the ball low and when he's motivated, keeps his pad level down and gets off the snap on time he can routinely threaten gaps or simply overwhelm on contact. Seems to be paying more attention to detail as a senior, as his ball awareness and snap recognition have both improved as well. Possesses the athleticism to get up and down the line defeating reach/slide down blocks, but again motor and passion both come into question with this guy.
Impression: Is really starting to put it all together as a senior. If you can keep him motivated has the talent to mature into a very good starting caliber lineman at a number of positions in the NFL.
Still boasted at the Scouting Combine that he’s the best player available at his position.
"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 that I had, I was able to disrupt plays even if I wasn’t making tackles or sacks."
That sounds exactly what I’d like in the Broncos first draft pick next Thursday. I’m liking the options for our team in the Draft. Even if we don’t end up with Devon Still as the newest member of the resurging Orange Crush.
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