The Way I See It, we'll have an opportunity to see six or more 2005 Nittany Lions on Sunday afternoons or Monday nights. As of this writing six Penn state football players were drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team and are on their way to a professional career. Leading the way was Tamba Hali, who was selected in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs. As I'm a huge Chiefs fan, this brought a big smile to my face. The last draft prediction I read suggested that Hali, the 2005 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year, would be going to the New York Giants, but KC nabbed the Lion defensive end with the 20th pick. Hali became the fourth Lion defensive lineman in the past seven years to be selected in the first round. He became the 30th PSU player to be drafted in the first round with Joe Paterno as head coach and joins Larry Johnson in the land of red and white.
Somewhat of a surprise to me came later in the draft when the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round selected Michael Robinson at the number 100 spot. I was sure Alan Zemaitis would be selected after Hali, but Robinson's athleticism was to valuable for the 49ers to pass on. Projected as a potential running back, Robinson is the only Lion signal-caller to rush and pass for a 1,000-yards in a career.
I was also surprised that Calvin Lowry was the next Nit to be selected. Tennessee made the PSU safety their fourth round selection with the 102 pick, while Tampa Bay tabbed Zemaitis in the fourth round at number 122. According to a Frank Fitzpatrick article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, May 1, Zemaitis lacks the speed NFL personnel covet in their cornerbacks. Zemaitis is reportedly a good fit in the Bucs system and could make an impact as early as this upcoming season. I loved to watch Zemaitis play the game. He was a 2005 first-team All-Big 10 selection and only the fifth player in Lion history to earn all-conference honors three times.
The next PSU player selected was Tyler Reed, a guard, at number 200. The Chicago Bears, with a pick they acquired from the Seahawks, selected the big guy in the sixth round. Reed was a three-year starter and the most consistent Lion offensive lineman.
The sixth Lion nabbed was Ethan Kilmer, who Fitzpatrick reported, has a 40 1/2-inch vertical leap. Kilmer, selected at number 209, was tabbed by the Cincinnati Bengals and is projected as a potential special team player. He joins fellow PSU alumni, Kenny Watson and Tony Stewart.
The New York Giants have four former Lions on their roster, Matt Kranchick, Kareem McKenzie, LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short. I usually cheer on the team with the most PSU players on their roster, but I'm not a huge fan of the Giant quarterback, so unless the Giants are playing the Eagles or Cowboys I don't care who wins the game.
Who had the best draft? I was impressed with the Tennessee Titans, who grabbed both Vince Young and Lendale White and picked up three linebackers. Time will tell.