Pop quiz: when was the last time a Penn State Nittany Lion was selected in the first round of the NFL draft? Give up?
The Miami Dolphins snagged defensive end Jared Odrick with the 28th overall pick of the 2010 Draft. This is a bit of a surprise given just how many Penn State players are making an impact in the NFL, including San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVarro Bowman, Kansas City Chief defensive end Tamba Hali and Oakland Raiders center Steve Wisniewski.
The first Nittany Lion to be selected in this year’s NFL Draft was wide receiver Allen Robinson. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in need of talent at nearly every position, and Robinson will likely be expected to learn the offense quickly and produce results as soon as this year. Justin Blackmon’s career has been one giant question mark to this point, so the 6’3” 20-year-old out of Penn State via St. Mary’s Preparatory High School in Detroit, Michigan has an excellent opportunity in front of him.
The Tennessee Titans selected that DaQuan Jones in the fourth round with the 112th overall pick. He will also have a chance to immediately factor in on a defensive line that has been in a state of flux the past few seasons. Tennessee is clearly building a winner, and Jones represents one of many exciting draft picks for the Midwestern franchise.
The final Penn State alum to go in this year’s NFL Draft was guard Jon Urschel. Urschel was selected in the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens, a team that was on top of the world just a short year and a half ago, but is now scrambling to put pieces together around high-paid quarterback Joe Flacco. The 6’3”, 320-pounder has bulked up over the course of the last few seasons, and will likely become even more strong and robust as a result of professional training regimens and top-flight nutrition plans.
Urschel was born in Winnipeg, Canada, attended high school in Buffalo, New York and dominated on the gridiron in Happy Valley. He will now make the short trip to Baltimore to begin training for the first year of what he hopes will be a long and illustrious professional career. Folks who follow the program closely know that the Nittany Lions roster is chock full of young talent, so it shouldn’t be long before the dry streak involving Penn State first round picks is broken.