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Penn State with Four Potential First-Round Picks in Latest from The Athletic

Yep, still hurts!

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Penn State v Memphis Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Penn State was likely going to be very, very good in 2020.

Don’t trust me? Trust Dane Brugler of The Athletic. Brugler’s latest 2021 NFL Draft Big Board included four Penn State players in the top 25 of his latest big board.

Only once before has Penn State had four players selected in the first round of the draft, with Jimmy Kennedy (12), Michael Haynes (14), Bryant Johnson (17) and Larry Johnson (27) all being selected. That 2002 team, of course, somehow went just 9-4 but lost four games by a combined 20 points, two of which came in overtime.

Unsurprisingly, Micah Parsons checks in highest on the list at No. 5. Brugler had this to say of the stud linebacker:

“A high school pass rusher, Parsons is a difference-maker at linebacker. And according to head coach James Franklin, he “hasn’t even scratched the surface” of how good he can be because he didn’t start playing the position until college.”

He’s followed, a bit surprisingly, by defensive end Jayson Oweh at No. 14. While Oweh had yet to show what he can do in a full season as a starter, his frame, athleticism and upside all have Brugler excited for his future.

“He had five sacks last season off the bench and was set for a breakout season as a starter. However, with the Big Ten not playing in the fall, Oweh is still unproven and his high ranking is based entirely on potential,” he said.

Pat Freiermuth joins the club at No. 22. The star tight end is the second tight end on Brugler’s board behind Miami’s Kyle Pitts.

“While not as fast as Pitts, Freiermuth is a coordinated athlete with the foot quickness and body sink to create his own separation mid-route. He also has five career drops. Freiermuth is highly reliable and multifaceted with the talent to land in Round 1 in April,” Brugler said.

Lastly, and in a slight surprise, Journey Brown is listed as the No. 25 overall prospect on Brugler’s board and the highest-rated running back.

“Penn State has been spoiled at running back in recent memory. Saquon Barkley was the first running back drafted in 2018 and Miles Sanders was the second off the board in 2019. And despite not yet reaching 1,000 rushing yards in his collegiate career, Brown has all the talent to be the top running back on several teams’ draft boards in April,” he said of the former track star.