Nittany Lions Set for NFL Draft
There are two highlights of the offseason for Penn State football fans: the Blue/White Game and the NFL Draft. One is a big stage for the up-and-coming stars of the new Penn State team and the other, an event football players dream about from the day they first put on a helmet.
This year, there are eight former Penn State standouts hoping to hear their name called at the NFL Draft in Nashville. Penn State has a long history of NFL stars and first round draft picks — just last year, Saquon Barkley was taken No. 2 overall and won the NFL Rookie of the Year award. Barkley was one of six Nittany Lions drafted last season — their strongest draft class since six players were taken in 2010.
While we may not hear any Nittany Lions called on Thursday night, NFL analysts expect at least four of the Nittany Lions to be drafted this weekend.
Here is a look at this year’s top Penn State draft prospects:
Amani Oruwariye, CB
Now that the NFL is a passing league, teams are always in search of talented corners, which makes Amani Oruwariye a potential first-round pick. Last season, Oruwariye was Penn State’s best corner — with 12 pass breakups and three interceptions. At 6’2”, he has good size for his position and ran an impressive 4.47 second 40-yard dash. Mock drafts have Oruwariye being drafted anywhere from the back-end of the first round on Thursday night to early third round.
Miles Sanders, RB
Very likely the first Penn State player off the board this week, Miles Sanders rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and scored nine touchdowns last season. Sanders thrived as a feature back with the departure of Saquon Barkley and many experts predict that he could sneak into the back end of the first round on Thursday night. With his blazing 4.49 second 40-yard dash, Sanders could be a steal in the mid-second round for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Connor McGovern, G
Throughout his career at Penn State, Connor McGovern did a little bit of everything for the Nittany Lions offensive line. He started games at left guard, right guard and center during his three years in Happy Valley. In the NFL, McGovern projects as a guard and could have an opportunity to start early in his career on the right team. Most experts expect McGovern to go off the draft boards sometime in the third round on Friday night or early Saturday in the fourth round.
The remaining five Penn State prospects all have a chance to hear their name called this weekend — and if not, they will all have an invitation to a training camp as free agents this summer.
The most likely of the bunch to be drafted is defensive end Shareef Miller. Miller had a good combine performance and was a regular in opposing backfields during his Penn State career, racking up 14.5 sacks.
The one name that every Penn State fan will be waiting to hear is quarterback Trace McSorely. McSorely was one of the best and most clutch college quarterbacks in Penn State history, but many experts do not think of him as an NFL quarterback. If McSorely is drafted, it will be sometime late this weekend, but he will definitely have a chance to prove himself in a training camp.
The other Penn State players hopeful to hear their names called are guard Ryan Bates; defensive tackle Kevin Givens; and safety Nick Scott.
The NFL Draft begins Thursday night at 8 p.m. in Nashville, Tennessee. Tune in and keep an eye out for our Nittany Lion hopefuls.