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Bill O'Brien opens Penn State football practices to NFL scouts

Bill O'Brien has reversed Joe Paterno's policy of excluding NFL scouts from Penn State's practices, as at least one scout from all 32 NFL teams has been to a PSU practice so far this season.

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Bill O'Brien knows the importance of the NFL Draft scouting process from his time with the New England Patriots, so he's opened his team's practices up NFL teams wanting to take a look at Penn State players.

Joe Paterno never allowed NFL teams to scout his practices in his 45-year tenure at Penn State, and although it didn't hurt the professional stock of his players, it probably didn't help. O'Brien changed that policy quickly, opening PSU's practices to scouts on Wednesdays since the start of the season. Tim Gilbert of writes that scouts from all 32 teams have been to at least one of Penn State's practices.

The move not only helps NFL coaches get more familiar with his team, but also impresses potential recruits who can see Nittany Lions players are drawing attention from the next level. O'Brien spoke on the effect it has on the program:

"A lot of colleges let scouts in. I'm not the only one that does it, obviously, but I do think it helps when kids know that if you come to Penn State, if you play well and you produce on the field, you're going to be seen at practice and at games and you're going to have a chance."

The team's primary draft prospects are on the defensive side in Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, both linebackers, who can likely translate to the professional game, as well as defensive tackle Jordan Hill. On offense, teams will look at center Matt Stankiewitch.