In the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft the Bengals selected Devon Still DT out of Penn State. The Bengals play in a division where it is important to have a big presence on the defensive line. Devon Still can be that presence. A guy that can wreak havoc in the backfield and disrupt plays. He will fit nicely on the Bengals rotation and many were surprised he made it out of the first round.
His NFL Draft profile read:
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 that needs to address its run defense and add a player who will occupy and keep linebackers free in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme likely will select Still in the middle of the first round as an immediate starter.
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 strength to occupy a blocker while he reads the play and reacts, which is ideal for a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. He has the ability to use hand technique and footwork 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.
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. Since a dominant Outback Bowl performance to end the 2010 season — 3.5 tackles for loss against Florida center and Dolphins first-round pick Mike Pouncey — Still was convinced he’d make a living on Sundays. Like Brockers, Still has to shake similar questions from scouts about whether he’s a late bloomer or one-year wonder. After tearing two left knee
ligaments as a freshman and a broken ankle in fall camp the following season, Still said he fully dedicated himself to being a football player before the 2011 season. He credits defensive line coach Larry Johnson for keeping him motivated and schooling him on the finer points of on-field technique and how to watch film. “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.” Still said Penn State left guard Johnnie Troutman, who was also at the Scouting Combine, deserves credit in his emergence from reserve to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. They became so familiar with each other squaring off in practice four or five days a week that by last season, one-on-one matchups became a test of fortitude. Troutman said the game slowed down for Still, who stopped over-thinking about his responsibility within the scheme and let his ability take over. “It definitely helped me over the past three years playing against a guy like him,” Troutman said. “For his size he’s a real quick guy so you’ve got to move your feet and don’t blink because if you blink and punch and miss he’s going to be by you.” Penn State might be Linebacker U, but the Nittany Lions are accustomed to sending defensive linemen to the NFL. From Courtney Brown to Michael Haynes to Aaron Maybin, Jared Odrick to Tamba Hali to Cameron (Derek) Wake, the tradition is tangible. While Penn State transitions to a new era under new coach Bill O’Brien, Still remains cognizant of repaying the program that helped him reach the doorstep of a lifelong dream. “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.”
I hope he lives up to that and does become one of the best. I am pumped to see him put Big Ben on his rear a few times.