Best Draft Landing Spots for Penn State Players
There are currently 27 former Nittany Lions in the NFL. Expect that number to increase to the 30s following the upcoming NFL Draft. While some Penn State alums will hear their names called during the seven-round event, others will sign as undrafted free agents after draft weekend. Here are the ideal NFL teams for each Penn State prospect entering the 2016 draft.
Austin Johnson: Jacksonville Jaguars (Second Round)
In any other draft class, Johnson would be a sure-fire round one selection. Nonetheless, he is a great fit for the Jaguars’ 3-4 defense. Johnson projects as a nose tackle in the NFL and will be able to focus on his strength: run defense. Not to mention, he’d be learning under former Nittany Lion Jared Odrick.
Christian Hackenberg: New York Jets (Second Round)
Following an impressive freshman season, some experts deemed Hackenberg a potential No.1 overall pick. Underwhelming sophomore and junior campaigns have dropped his stock, but the talent is still there. The Jets are expected to sign a quarterback on a short-term contract this offseason, meaning Hackenberg will have some time to develop. The former Nittany Lion quarterback would be on a big stage and have the chance to become the star of the Big Apple.
Carl Nassib: Cincinnati Bengals (Third Round)
The 2015 national sack leader was a one-hit-wonder in college, but still has plenty of upside. At 6-foot-7, Nassib will be a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. Nassib fits perfectly in Cincinnati. The Bengals have an aggressive linebacking corps, but could use some help on the defensive line. With the Bengals, Nassib would have a big role on a playoff-contending team, not too far away from his home state of Pennsylvania.
Anthony Zettel: Houston Texans (Third Round)Who better to play next to than J.J. Watt? The Texans are in need of some defensive ends to fit their 3-4 scheme. Zettel fits that perfectly, playing both defensive end and tackle at Penn State. Houston put together on of the top defenses in the NFL last season, and Zettel would only bolster that. Plus, head coach Bill O’Brien knows exactly what he’s getting from the former Nittany Lions star.
Jordan Lucas: Tennessee Titans (Seventh Round)
Lucas is an extremely versatile defensive back and the Titans need versatility in the back end of their defense. While he would not start from get-go, Lucas would have time to develop and be a part of the Titans’ youth movement. In addition to his playing abilities, he could bring his leadership to a team about to be full of recent college graduates.
Potential undrafted free agents
Jonathan Gross is a freshman double-majoring in broadcast journalism and international politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.