Three Penn State players expected to be in first 12 selections

Unlike most of their fellow Penn State classmates, Kyle Brady, Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins don't have to worry about resumes and job interviews this year.

All three are expected to be among the first 12 selections in Saturday's NFL draft, with Carter projected as the No. 1 pick. While many recent graduates are struggling to afford car payments or rent, Carter, Collins and Brady should earn more than $1 million each next year.

"I really can't even comprehend it," Carter said. "Hopefully, if I have a large amount of money I will buy my mother a house and a car and get myself a house and a car in my hometown, Westerville (Ohio)."

Carter, a 5-foot-10, 225-pound tailback, will definitely have enough for a car and house. The median salary for first-round picks last year was $874,000, while No. 1 pick Dan Wilkinson received a six-year deal for $14.4 million.

Brady, a 6-6, 260-pound tight end, caught 29 passes last season, and scouts have been impressed by his blocking. Brady plans to use his first contract to help his mother retire from her job as a nurse at Camp Hill State Prison.

"She's done so much in raising and caring for me, the least she deserves is a decent life," he said.

Brady is expected to go to Cleveland or Philadelphia, with picks No. 10 and 12. Collins, a 6-5, 240-pound quarterback, is expected to go to Washington with the fourth pick or to St. Louis with the sixth selection.

Southern Cal set the record for most first-round picks in one draft when five players were selected in 1968. Analysts have said the Penn State class of 1995 could be as good as Notre Dame's 1993 class, which featured Rams running back Jerome Bettis, Seattle quarterback Rick Mirer, New Orleans tight end Irv Smith and Washington defensive back Tom Carter.

This year would be the first time three Penn State players go in the first round. Coach Joe Paterno said this group reminds him of the early 1980s when Curt Warner, Todd Blackledge and Kenny Jackson were first-round selections over two years.

"This obviously was a great offense," Paterno said. "When it's all said and done, we'll see how special this group of kids was.

"Collins was the leader, Carter was in a dimension of his own and Brady was terrific," he said. "All three of them were as good as anybody we had at their positions."

Collins and Alcorn State's Steve McNair are considered the top quarterbacks.

Some scouts criticized Collins because of a hitch in his throwing motion that may slow his delivery. Collins worked on his motion with former 49ers coach Bill Walsh, but didn't make any drastic changes.

"I have a tough time trying to figure out what they mean by a hitch," Collins said. "I've eliminated some things in my (delivery), some things that were unnecessary."

The expansion Carolina Panthers are expected to select Carter or trade the top pick to one of several teams interested in the Heisman runner-up.

"In high school, they always tell you the incredible odds against making the NFL," Carter said. "Now I have a chance to be a No. 1 pick like Dan Wilkinson, Drew Bledsoe, Steve Entman and Troy Aikman. For me to be in that elite group is just an overwhelming feeling