Still believes he’s cream of defensive tackle crop

INDIANAPOLIS — He’s not the first guy to say this about himself, but Devon Still believes he’s the very best at what he does.

The Penn State defensive tackle closed the book on a sensational senior season (the All-American was named Big Ten Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year) and now looks ahead to the draft, where he’s widely projected to go in the first round.

Still wants teams to know that whoever takes the chance on him will gain an elite player.

“I think hands down, I’m the best defensive tackle in this draft,” Still told reporters Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Just because I feel there’s no doubt I want it more, and I was able to take over a lot of games this season, and just the production that I had, I was able to disrupt plays even if I wasn’t making statistics.”

Still battled back from two season-ending injuries — he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in 2007 and broke his left ankle in 2008 — and he grew emotional Saturday while describing the loyalty of his college D-line coach, Larry Johnson. Still credited Johnson with sticking by him when a lesser man might have seen him as a lost cause.

Still, of course, will be asked at this combine about his experience during Penn State’s meltdown amid scandal, and the subsequent death of icon Joe Paterno. He doesn’t mind the questions.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a lot of those … and I’m ready to answer them,” Still said, adding that the experience taught him to battle through adversity and produce, something he appears ready to do at the next level.

— Marc Sessler

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