Seahawks select Penn State defensive tackle Hill
Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill went a little earlier in the NFL Draft than projected as the Seattle Seahawks picked the Steelton native in the latter half of the third round Friday night.
Hill joins a team that will enter the season as a Super Bowl contender, and the 6-foot-1, 303-pounder is the first Penn State player to get drafted this year. He had been projected to go in the fourth or fifth round because of depth at defensive tackle and concerns about his size.
Hill may have been Penn State's most indispensable defensive player in 2012 as he routinely controlled the line of scrimmage, freeing up linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges to make plays.
He was a first-team All-Big Ten pick after helping Penn State to a surprising 8-4 record.
Hill played through several knee injuries last season, and he carried Penn State's defense in his final game, making 12 tackles and two sacks in a 24-21 overtime win against Wisconsin at Beaver Stadium.
Hill joins former Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson on the Seahawks roster — Robinson is now a fullback — and he is the second Nittany Lions defensive tackle in as many years to be taken in the first three rounds of the draft. Former All-American Devon Still was a second-round pick by the Bengals in 2012.
Hodges and Mauti are expected to get drafted Saturday, when rounds fourth through seven are held in New York City.
Mauti's draft status has been clouded by the third torn ACL he sustained in Penn State's penultimate game in 2012. The All-American met with a handful of teams before the draft, including the Steelers, but his injury may force Mauti to sign somewhere as an undrafted free agent after the draft.
Center Matt Stankiewitch also has a chance at getting drafted, while a handful of former Nittany Lions, including offensive tackle Mike Farrell (Shady Side Academy), are expected to sign as undrafted free agents.
Scott Brown is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.