Well, this is about what we expected. With a senior class that was relatively small and no juniors on the roster declaring, Penn State’s best chance to place players in the National Football League rested on two of its historically most consistent performers.
With the 48th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Stefen Wisniewski. Wiz is a second generation star – his father, Leo Wisniewski, was a 2nd round selection of the Baltimore Colts as a nose tackle. Even more impressively, his uncle Steve was an two-time All-American at Penn State and eight-time Pro Bowl guard. Steve not only spent his playing days with the Raiders; he currently serves an assistant offensive line coach.
Wiz had quite a career in the Blue and White, so much so that the athletic department places him "among the most distinguished student-athletes in the program’s 124-year history." Wiz was a three-time Academic All-American, a two-time 1st team All-Big Ten selection, and a 2010 AFCA 1st team All-American.
With the 177th overall pick, the Washington Redskins selected Evan Royster. Although he struggled early in the year, Royster finished with 1,014 yards to surpass Curt Warner as Penn State’s career rushing leader. A three-year starter and three-time All-Big Ten performer, Royster became the first in Penn State’s storied running back lineage to rush for 1,000 yards in three different seasons. After Royster’s successful college career, he now heads back to Fairfax, Virginia to play for his hometown team. Did you know he used to play lacrosse?
In related news, former Penn State defensive tackle and Baylor all-conference performer Phil Taylor was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 21st overall selection. Pat Devlin, former Penn State quarterback and Delaware standout, went undrafted.
Between Royster and Wiz, the Grand Experiment lives on. Congratulations to them both on becoming Joe Paterno’s 246th and 247th NFL Draft selections.