There are as many as six players who recently departed from Penn State who could hear their names called at some point during the NFL Draft. But which one would you most want to get your hands on if you're an NFL GM?
For this exercise, let's just pretend that your team happens to need help at quarterback, defensive line, secondary and tight end equally. In that regard, you can nearly make a case for all potential Penn State draftees:
Christian Hackenberg- the Draft's biggest enigma, wrapped in a question mark. We all know that Hackenberg has all the physical tools to be an elite NFL quarterback for years to come. However, thanks to playing behind a historically bad offensive line and getting wrapped up in a dysfunctional offense for two seasons, there is no way of knowing what to expect at the next level.
Carl Nassib- He's got the size and the motor to succeed in the NFL, and which team wouldn't love to add a stellar defensive end in the pass-happy NFL? Liek Hackenberg, he's also a bit of a mystery considering he came out of completely nowhere as a fifth-year senior to become arguably the best defensive player in all of college football.
Austin Johnson- Johnson has prototypical size for an NFL defensive tackle and off-the-charts athleticism for someone weighing in close to 330 lbs. He's also in a situation where just about every franchise would happily welcome a playmaking defensive tackle of Johnson's caliber if given the right opportunity.
Anthony Zettel- Zettel will likely be considered a "tweener" by the NFL, stuck between tackle and end as his natural position. He should end up at defensive end and performed well in that spot before sliding inside for his junior season. Zettel's intangibles are off the charts, and can completely dominant when he isn't the focal point of opposing offenses.
Jordan Lucas- Outside of Happy Valley, Lucas really flew under the radar despite having an outstanding career at Penn State. He's versatile and could likely succeed at either safety of cornerback in the NFL, and would immediately be a special teams demon as a rookie. He could have a similar trajectory as Adrian Amos, who also never received the credit he deserved nationally, and proved it by becoming a surprise starter for the Bears as a rookie in 2015.
Kyle Carter- It's doubtful many would take Carter above the aforementioned players, but there's no denying he is an impact player when healthy and used properly. As a redshirt freshman, he looked like a future high draft pick before his career was derailed by nagging injuries and falling behind on the depth chart. Like Hackenberg, Carter's draft prospects have been squandered by poor coaching and could turn a new leaf in the NFL.
So what say you- who would you take first of the board??