All those great Penn State linebackers.

All those Eagles draft choices.

And yet, through 71 NFL drafts and nearly 1,200 picks, the franchise in Philadelphia - just 153 miles from Happy Valley - has never selected a Linebacker U. legend.

Not Jack Ham. Not Shane Conlan. Not Greg Buttle. Not Kurt Allerman. Not Dennis Onkotz. Not Ed O'Neil. Not Lance Mehl. Not LaVar Arrington. Not Brandon Short. Not John Skorupan. Not Andre Collins. Not Jim Laslavic. Not Keith Goganious. Not John Ebersole. Not Charlie Zapiec. Not Rich Milot.

In fact, since 1984, the Eagles have drafted exactly one player from Joe Paterno's otherwise well-respected program - tight end Tony Stewart, a fifth-rounder in 2001.

And now, with the 2007 draft just days away, it appears that Philadelphia might again miss out on, or pass over, another outstanding Linebacker U. product.

The Eagles, having just signed free-agent linebacker Takeo Spikes, seem to have little interest in Paul Posluszny, the 6-foot-1, 237-pound all-American who won a Butkus Award and two Bednarik Awards as a Nittany Lion.

As if to confirm that, Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said yesterday that while Posluszny was a first-round pick, he wasn't sure where he might end up.

According to most draft experts, Posluszny will go somewhere in the second half of the opening round - in the neighborhood where the Eagles, apparently more interested in a safety, are waiting with their 26th pick.

Should, as expected, the Eagles pass on Posluszny - or should linebacker-craving Jacksonville, with the 17th pick, the New York Giants, with the 20th, or the New York Jets, with the 25th, not take him first - there looks to be plenty of interest in him just beyond their selection.

New Orleans, New England and San Diego, with the 27th, 28th and 30th picks, respectively, have all expressed interest in the linebacker Ham has called Penn State's "best ever" at the position.

"It's a real roller-coaster ride," Posluszny said of his uncertain draft prospects. "You hear something about one place one day and another place another day. All you can really do is try to keep a level head because you know it's all going to be resolved pretty soon."

There are no questions about the Aliquippa native's upside. Scouts insist he is an all-round athlete who hits hard, plays with a relentless determination, and has plenty of football savvy and closing speed.

And in a year when new commissioner Roger Goodell has made off-the-field behavior a major issue, the character of Posluszny, the Nittany Lions' unquestioned leader and a polite finance major with a 3.56 grade point average, could be a major plus.

"Some playoff team will look at him and see that he's smart, tough, instinctive, and a high-character guy, and they'll snap him up," said Mike Mayock, a draft analyst for the NFL Network.

The likely reason Posluszny is lingering near the cusp of the first round, and not higher, is his time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

At the Indianapolis scouting showcase, he ran 40s in 4.68 and 4.67 seconds, borderline quickness for the pass-covering responsibilities of an NFL weakside linebacker. That's where Posluszny, despite his shift from the outside to the inside his senior season, figures to play as a pro.

Posluszny "allowed too much cushion and teams took advantage of that with good success completing underneath passes against him," reads an NFLDraftScout.com analysis. "In 46 plays he made in passing situations in 2006, 10 resulted in first downs."

A few weeks after the combine, back in the more comfortable surroundings of State College for Penn State's Pro Day, he ran a 40 in 4.58, which might have helped secure his spot as a late first-rounder.

Most draft insiders see him as the third linebacker selected, after Mississippi's Patrick Willis and Florida State's Lawrence Timmons.

Fifteen months ago, before he injured a knee and decided to spend his senior year at Penn State, Posluszny might have gone higher. In the '06 draft, linebackers A.J. Hawk and Ernie Sims, players he often was compared to, were chosen fifth and ninth, respectively.

"I'm sure that wherever I go, whenever I go, it will all work out for the best," Posluszny said. "At this point, I'm just real anxious to get it all over with."

Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.