With the NFL Draft only a day away, teams are closing in on determining their final board before the beginning of the draft. The draft will take place in Philadelphia this year, marking the first year it has been held in Philly since 1961. We thought it would be interesting to think about how potential 2018 Penn State draft prospects stack up with this year’s talent pool.
Let’s take a look at the prospects.
RB Saquon Barkley
Barkley is right in the thick of the Heisman race for the 2017-2018 season. A duo of McSorley and Barkley looks scary for opposing coordinators based on the numbers they put up last season. If they improve on that performance this year, Barkley’s NFL stock will only improve. Even with the immense amount of success he found last season, Barkley has been busy this offseason. Barkley reportedly ran a 4.33 second 40-yard dash; to put that number in perspective, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran a 4.47 40-yard dash before being drafted fourth overall by the Cowboys in last year’s draft.
If Barkley were in this draft, his draft position would be tough to predict. There are a plethora of teams that are looking for an elite running back in a year stacked with potential franchise pieces at the position. When comparing Barkley to the likes of Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon, he’s right in the thick of things. For prediction’s sake, Barkley would probably go right after Fournette somewhere in the top 10 of this draft.
PREDICTION: TOP 10 DRAFT PICK
LB Jason Cabinda
The guy makes plays, has all the leadership traits you want in a middle linebacker, and has the measurables necessary to be successful at the NFL level. He’s an unquestioned leader on this young Penn State squad with intangibles that register off the charts.
PREDICTION: 3RD ROUND PICK
TE Mike Gesicki
Gesicki was one of the most improved players on Penn State’s roster this past season. He was an easy target for McSorley to find all over the field and made big play after big play. His measureables stack up to other tight ends in this class, but he’d likely find a home on day two after top tier talent (like Alabama’s O.J. Howard) gets scooped up in the first round.
PREDICTION: 3RD ROUND PICK
WR Saeed Blacknall
Blacknall started strong as the year progressed last season — culminating in a breakout effort against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. Blacknall’s best trait is his ability to high-point the football on deep routes. His production may say otherwise, but he’s a worthy talent who’d certainly be worth a look in the draft’s later rounds.
PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK
DB Grant Haley And Marcus Allen
These DB’s have a real shot at being difference makers in the NFL. Based on their talent and measureables, they have the tools to be successful. In this draft — one littered with secondary talent — they could definitely hear their names called on draft day. Haley’s established himself as a reliable shutdown corner, and Allen’s efforts as a box safety can’t be ignored. Both will be playing on Sundays.
PREDICTION: 4TH-6TH ROUND PICK