Among the many college players the Giants brought in for pre-draft meetings today were two linebackers from Penn State: Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee. So for some insight into these players I sent an email to Newsday's senior sports editor Mike Rose, who also happens to be one of the world's foremost authortites on all things Nittany.
Within a few seconds my phone was ringing and he was giving me his take on both players.
He likes Bowman a lot, noting how fast he is (or at least was before a groin injury slowed him down in the beginning of last season). His Combine speeds in the 40 were not spectacular, but on par with some of the other top-rated linebackers. "He was the best defensive player for Penn State when they played USC in the Rose Bowl, tackling their faster players," Mike told me.
He's really good in coverage, Mike continued, and recounted his returns of interceptions and fumble recoveries. But what stands out is his physical play. "He's one of the hardest hitters I've ever seen there," Mike said.
The question is whether he's big enough to be a linebacker or fast enough to be a strong safety. He's listed as 6-1 and 238 pounds. As a linebacker, he's always played on the outside in college. Nobody in the Penn State community really expected Bowman to stay in school for another year.
The other player, Sean Lee, isn't as highly touted on draft oards and will probably be a late-round pick for somebody. Lee tore his ACL in spring practice in 2008 and missed all of the ensuing season. He came back last year and played early on but tweaked the knee and he missed a few games. By the end of the season Mike said he was getting back into form. He's also a hard-hitter who played a little on the inside but is more an outside linebacker. "He's not super-fast, but he's very smart," Mike said.