ShareThis Page

Few NFL Draft prospects for former WPIAL players

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 11:14 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State offensive tackle and Shady Side product Mike Farrell (78) is hoping to get selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.

Mike Farrell leaves Penn State for good Friday. His next stop is anyone's guess, and that includes Farrell.

The offensive tackle, Pitt wide receiver Mike Shanahan and California safety Rontez Miles are among former WPIAL players who are hoping to get taken in the NFL Draft or at least sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.

WPIAL products from Mike Ditka and Joe Namath to Joe Montana and Dan Marino hold a place in NFL lore, but this is not a great draft year when it comes to Western Pennsylvania players.

None of them will get taken in the first two days of the draft, which starts Thursday. Farrell, a Shady Side Academy graduate, and Shanahan, a Norwin graduate, probably won't get picked until the seventh round if they are selected at all. Miles, a Woodland Hills graduate, is also projected as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.

“I think I have an outside chance of getting drafted,” said Farrell, who started every game last season and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. “I'm growing confident that my name is out there.”

Indeed, the Saints hosted Farrell for a visit a couple of weeks ago. The 6-foot-6, 303-pounder worked out for the Patriots later that week in State College.

Farrell spent the last three months working out in State College. Former Nittany Lions offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, now with the Raiders, worked with Farrell and center Matt Stankiewitch, helping each prepare for Penn State's Pro Day.

“Stefan really helped us because he was almost our position coach this spring,” Farrell said.

Farrell said five or six teams have called to make sure they can get in contact with him this weekend. Shanahan, meanwhile, said about 15 teams have called him or his agent Bill Parise, mainly to chat and ensure his phone number is good. Shanahan left Pitt fifth on the all-time receptions list (159) — one behind No. 4 Dietrich Jells and two behind No. 3 Larry Fitzgerald — and seventh in receiving yards (2,276).

Shanahan will switch to tight end or H-back in the NFL, so he has worked hard since the end of the season, his fifth at Pitt. The result is he has added about 20 pounds to a 6-5 frame, eating three substantial meals per day and drinking protein shakes. He is likely to report to his new team at 245 pounds.

The anxiety and uncertainty connected to the draft — and his future — has been weighing on him.

“It's definitely exciting,” Shanahan said. “At the same time, I kind of want it to be over with, but it's part of the process. I'm trying to enjoy it. I will be a little bit nervous, but it will be fun.”

Scott Brown and Jerry DiPaola are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Brown at or via Twitter @ScottBrown_Trib and DiPaola at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.