It was, by all accounts, a banner year for Penn Staters in the NFL. The season hasn’t yet come to a close yet with the Super Bowl still to be played in under two weeks, but it’s worth looking back on Penn State’s five players who made NFL rosters for the first time this season. These five players helped Penn State find an identity through the powerful 2012 season and took their talents to the NFL in 2013.
The most noteworthy of the group is Matt McGloin, who lived up to his “Moxie” moniker by going undrafted, making it through the Oakland Raiders’ training camp, and eventually earning himself a starting job thanks to his strong play in practice and some help from injuries.
McGloin started six games for the Raiders, going 1-5 and losing five straight after winning his first NFL start 28-23 over the Houston Texans while throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions. McGloin finished his rookie campaign with 1,547 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and eight picks. He completed 55.9 percent of his passes. It isn’t clear if the Raiders will search for their next franchise quarterback will stay in-house or if they will turn to the draft and free agency to find someone to lead their offense, but McGloin has at the very least proved that he’s worth keeping around.
Next up is defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who was drafted in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks. He saw limited play in his rookie season, finishing the regular season with just seven tackles and 1.5 sacks. What is worth mentioning is that Hill is on a team that will play for the Lombardi Trophy in two Sundays at MetLife Stadium. Hill is one of two Penn Staters to represent the university in this year’s Super Bowl along with Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson. If you don’t have any other strong rooting interests next Sunday, as a Penn Stater, the Seahawks are your team.
The Minnesota Vikings drafted a duo of Nittany Lions linebackers in 2013. Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti were very close at Penn State, playing across from each other on the Nittany Lions’ front seven before they were drafted in the fourth and seventh round respectively in 2013 by the Vikes. Neither Hodges nor Mauti played all that much for Minnesota this season. Hodges finished the year with just five tackles and saw action in 11 total games over the year. Mauti played in 14 game and totaled 12 tackles in the regular season. Look for both of these guys to get more involved as Marvin Mitchell, who is ahead of them on the depth chart, had a mediocre year and Minnesota will likely look elsewhere for reps at the linebacker position in 2014.
Last but not least, Michael Zordich converted from running back to fullback because of his size and made it into the big leagues in 2013. It looked like he was going to make the Carolina Panthers’ roster as a backup at the position before he tore his ACL during the first preseason game and was ruled out for the season. Hopefully Zordich will recover fully and get another shot in 2014.