The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just fired their head coach, Lovie Smith, after a last-place season. The Chicago Bears also came in last place, and are coached by noted high school security guard John Fox. Both were decidedly bad football teams, but both had solid young bright spots in the form of Happy Valley products Donovan Smith and Adrian Amos, both of whom were selected to Mel Kiper's All-Rookie team (Insider required).
Smith, selected with the second pick in the second round, was chosen to protect Jameis Winston's blindside after a productive but somewhat-maligned Penn State career. Left tackle is an incredibly difficult position, one that chews rookies up and spits them out. Smith had 10 penalties against him, but to his credit started 16 games and got better and better as the season wore on. He's a legitimate starting NFL tackle, which is a valuable commodity. Per Kiper:
Important: Smith gets the nod at left tackle where, frankly, it wasn't pretty for any rookie who saw time there, and Havenstein gets the nod at right tackle. After that, let's just say it's not easy to jump to the NFL and hold down a tackle position as a rookie.
Amos, a fifth rounder who left Penn State as a very accomplished, versatile secondary player, had a season worthy of praise. He finished the season with 67 total tackles (partly a result of the Bears' defensive woes, and partly a result of him being incredibly rangy), a sack, a stuffed run, and two defended passes. He's definitely a key piece of the Bears' future at the position. As Kiper put it:
Amos played a very good free safety for the Bears.
Great detailed analysis from The Haircut there.
Three other Big Ten players in former Maryland WR Stefon Diggs, former Nebraska RB/KR Ameer Abdullah, and former Iowa T Brandon Scherff also made the list. Along with now-Pro Bowler Allen Robinson, Penn State has plenty of young talent on the upswing in the pros.