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An Update on Former Penn Staters in the NFL

For most Penn State football players, the end of their senior year means the end of their football career as well. But a select few take their game to the next level and go on to play in the National Football League. With four players from the 2013 graduating class making that step up, it’s time to take a look at former Penn Staters in the NFL after week 3.

Last Monday, former Penn State standout Derek Moye had both his first NFL reception and his first NFL touchdown as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Moye, who bounced around a bit before he made Pittsburgh his home, took advantage of the team’s preseason loss of Plaxico Burress and has seen increased playing time this season.

The Oakland Raiders’ Nittany Lion trio of quarterback Matt McGloin, defensive end Jack Crawford, and center Stefen Wisniewski got some national attention on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos last night. Crawford has just one recorded tackle this season playing in a limited role behind Jason Hunter. Wisniewski mans the Raiders’ offensive line, paving the way for feature running back Darren McFadden.

McGloin’s story is a special one. Doubted by many and assumed to be an early camp cut, he defied all odds and sealed up the backup quarterback job behind former Ohio State Buckeye Terrelle Pryor despite his undrafted rookie status. Don’t expect him to see much or any playing time this season, but his story is one to be celebrated nonetheless.

The Minnesota Vikings have two of Penn State’s most notable linebackers in recent years on the squad. Both Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges have not contributed much yet but remain viable reserve players who can come in and impact a game immediately. Mauti, who came off of ACL surgery late in his senior year, suited up for the first time for the Vikes on Sunday against Cleveland.

Both defensive lineman Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick are solid contributors on the Miami Dolphin’s impressive front seven. Wake has racked up five tackles and 2.5 sacks this year working opposite Oliver Vernon and Dion Jordan. Odrick, who splits time with Randy Starks, has five tackles and no sacks through three games.

Defensive tackle Jordan Hill is listed as the backup to Brandon Mebane and D’Anthony Smith. He has not recorded any statistics this season.

Linebacker Paul Posluszny, Penn State’s second all-time leading tackler and a fan favorite, remains the heart and soul of the Jacksonville Jaguar’s defense and is a constant force in the run game. With 31 tackles, a sack, and an interception on the season, Poz is one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL.

Former Nittany Lion and current Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould is a perfect 4-for-4 on the season and a very reliable contributor to the the Bears’ special teams unit.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and former Nittany Lion great Tamba Hali is having a modest season thus far with eight tackles and one sack.

Levi Brown has anchored the left side of the offensive line for the likes of Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, Kevin Kolb, and more recently Carson Palmer in his seven years in the NFL. A consistent road grader in the run game and dominating pass blocker, Brown is a solid left tackle who positively contributes to the Cardinals’ offense every year.

Dan Connor, linebacker for the New York Giants and Penn State’s all-time leading tackler, was put on the IR after a week one injury against the Dallas Cowboys. Connor only racked up two early tackles before suffering the disappointing season-ending injury.

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is a rising talent in the league and a player who figures to be a star on the Dallas defensive front for years to come. Through three games Lee has notched 16 tackles and a fumble recovery.

49ers linebacker Navorro Bowman is off to a great start, recording 20 tackles so far on the year.

As you can see, there are many former Nittany Lions who play important roles on their respective NFL squads, which is a pretty nice topic for Penn Staters past and present to brag about.

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected].

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