When Steven Gonzalez committed to Penn State in 2015 over Ohio State, among others, the Nittany Lions were expecting to get a stalwart in the interior of their offensive line for years to come. And that’s exactly what they got.
After redshirting in 2015, Gonzalez immediately became an integral figure for the Penn State offense. In 2016, he appeared in 11 games and started three as the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten championship and reached the Rose Bowl.
Over the next three seasons, the Union City, New Jersey started all 39 games that Penn State played. He helped pave the way for Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders to become future NFL stars.
In his final season, Gonzalez was named second-team All-Big Ten by both coaches and media. He also became a legitimate NFL prospect in the process who is expected to go in the mid-to-late round next later this week.
What You’re Getting
Gonzalez isn’t the most nimble athlete. He sometimes struggles when asked to pull or reach block and isn’t the most refined pass blocker, but if he gets his mitts on the defensive lineman it’s a wrap.
A traditional road grader, Gonzalez is a force once he gets going downhill and anchors well in the pass game, particularly against the bull rush.
In the right system, he could become a future NFL starter and his versatility should keep him in the league for a while.
For an NFL comparison, Gonzalez reminds me a lot of Dallas Cowboys guard Joe Looney. Looney was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of Wake Forest. He’s since bounced around the league a bit, but has made 30 starts over seven seasons at right guard, left guard and center.
If Gonzalez can learn to be versatile, he could be an essential part of an NFL roster and mainstay in the league for the next decade.