Shipley could be center of talk in Steelers' plans
A.Q. Shipley, a standout Penn State football player and a graduate of Moon Area High School visited with the Steelers.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A.Q. Shipley has visited with the Steelers, met with the boss and once again impressed their scouts.
Now, after Penn State's pro day yesterday at Holuba Hall, the question remains: Does his undersized profile fit the one established by Hall of Fame center Mike Webster?
"Absolutely, he's a prototypical Steelers center," said Shipley's agent, Eric Metz.
If nothing else, Shipley, named the Rimington Trophy winner as Division I's top center last season, could make for an intriguing midround pick for the Steelers at the NFL draft April 25-26.
In a tale of the tape, Shipley would outweigh the late Webster by 51 pounds (306-255), but both stand 6 feet 1.
Phil Kreidler, the Steelers' pro/college scout, declined to comment on Shipley yesterday. But Shipley, a Moon High School graduate, stopped by the team's South Side practice facility Monday.
- When: April 25-26.
- Where: New York.
- Order: Top five picks: 1, Detroit; 2, St. Louis; 3, Kansas City; 4, Seattle; 5, Cleveland.
- Steelers: Pick 32nd in the first round.
"I met with [coach Mike] Tomlin and Kevin Colbert for about 40, 45 minutes," Shipley said. "And then I met with coach [Larry] Zierlein, their offensive line coach. We watched a little film, talked some football and then I got a tour of the facility.
"Everything went well and I know they like me a lot."
Shipley was named a first-team All-American last season. He started the final 39 games of his career.
"Shipley might be the toughest, most fundamentally sound football player Penn State is offering to the NFL this year," said Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.
Shipley had an impressive showing on the bench press at the combine, putting up 33 reps on the 225-pound bar. He also scored a well-above-average 40 out of 50 on the Wonderlic intelligence test.
"His film speaks for itself," said Metz, a graduate of Gateway High School and Penn State. "Every NFL line coach that you talk to says, 'Gosh, I wish this kid was a couple of inches taller. I wish his arm length were an inch longer.'
"But they also say, `You know what, there's no one better on tape.' At the end of the day, that's all that matters."
Shipley did just position drills yesterday and met with coaches from the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants. He said he would visit with the Chicago Bears this weekend and the Philadelphia Eagles next week.
"These teams are investing a lot of money in me," Shipley said. "They want to make sure they're not getting a dummy. They want to make sure they are going to get a guy who is smart enough to make the calls at my position."
Other high-profile Nittany Lions who worked out for NFL scouts were outside linebacker Aaron Maybin,; wide receivers Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler and Derrick Williams; cornerback Lydell Sargeant and outside linebacker Tyrell Sales from Butler. Sargeant left Monroeville after ninth grade to move to California, but he returned to graduate from Gateway in 2005.
"I think I have the ability to be a good corner at the next level," Sargeant said. "I definitely think I'm a draftable player."
Maybin (6-31/2, 250) started one year at defensive end and was a first-team All-American. He gave up his final two years of eligibility to enter the draft. Maybin said he improved on all of his numbers from the combine yesterday, including lowering his 40-yard dash time from 4.78 to 4.53.
"It was a pretty good day," Maybin said. "I think I showed the coaches what I could do."
NOTE -- Starting defensive tackle Jared Odrick, a first-team All-Big Ten Conference pick last season, was charged with disorderly conduct March 11 after police say he fought with three students and another man on South Atherton Street in State College. Odrick had been drinking, according to the citation, and was fined $430.
First Published March 19, 2009 12:00 am