Penn State Sends Off Potential NFL Studs to Professional Ranks
Head coach Bill O’Brien’s second year in Happy Valley didn’t go as well as first, but that was no reason for him to leave one of the most storied programs in college football history for the allegedly greener pastures of the NFL. Nonetheless, the Nittany Lions produced a number of top-flight graduates who are now hoping to make a living playing at the professional level. A 7–5 record meant the team did not exactly get the attention of the national press, but there are a handful of players who recently demonstrated their skills at the NFL Combine and cannot wait to the coached up by the best in the biz.
The cream of the crop is arguably wide receiver Allen Robinson, a strong 6’3″ pass catcher with big, sure hands. Over the course of the last few seasons, Robinson demonstrated many of the skills that make scouts salivate and anxious to get him inserted into big play offenses. Many experts have predicted Robinson going as high as the mid-first round, and a handful of teams are in dire need of big plays from the wide receiver position. His ability to run routes to near perfection and gain separation as the ball is in the air have a lot of teams interested in what he might be able to do for them.
DaQuan Jones was the top-ranked defensive lineman on the national college football radar going into the 2013 season, but a season abbreviated by injury did not allow him to showcase his skills to their fullest. Nonetheless, he ended up with 56 total tackles, including three sacks and an astounding 11.5 tackles for a loss. He has likely fallen out of the first round, but some team equipped with wise and savvy scouts aware of his skills and potential will surely snatch up and give him an opportunity to play a role in a defensive line in need of bulk.
Penn State fans are very familiar with the exploits of inside linebacker Glenn Carson over the course of last few years, and he will hope to put forth a performance that impresses scouts during an upcoming Pro Day. Carson had the most starts of any Nittany Lions player over the course of last four seasons and was a stout defender who opposing offenses often looked to avoid while drawing up their attack. He played in two bowl games in 2011 in 2012 before sanctions were implemented.
Passionate Nittany Lions fans will also be rooting for the likes of Zach Zwinak to catch on with a team if he does not get drafted in the first seven rounds. The 6’1”, 240-pound Frederick, Maryland native had a very impressive career moving the ball down the field for Penn State, as evidenced by the 2012 campaign in which he read for exactly 1000 yards in the 2013 season in which he racked up 989 on the ground. Given the series of reprehensible decisions that former Penn State coaches made which led to the recent repercussions and disciplinary actions, is a testament to the residual prestige of the great university that they were still able to put forth a handful of players well-groomed for a career at the professional level. Here’s wishing all of them the best.