Penn State in the NFL: Midseason Update
Penn State has had a long-standing tradition of sending quality players to the NFL, and the 2013 season is no exception. Highlighted by stellar performances from linebackers Sean Lee and Paul Posluszny, these former Nittany Lions are making their presence felt around the league:
Sean Lee is having a career year for the Dallas Cowboys. He leads the league with four interceptions, and is second in the league with 81 tackles. He has also recovered one fumble, and is the owner of one of the best individual performances of the year (18 tackles, and this pick-six vs. the San Diego Chargers). Expect to see him in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl at the end of the year.
Only one tackle behind Lee is Paul Posluszny, one of the lone bright spots on a winless Jacksonville Jaguars team. He has 80 tackles, good for fourth league-wide, and two interceptions. He also has the distinction of being one of the few players that have intercepted Denver’s Peyton Manning this season.
After being cut in the preseason by Seattle, Michael Robinson was re-signed by the Seahawks to a one-year deal. The topic of much speculation in August, Robinson revealed on Tuesday that he was cut due to a serious illness that left him in the hospital for almost three weeks. Now that he is healthy, the Seahawks picked him up for the veteran minimum salary. It is still unclear if Robinson will regain his captaincy with the team. In his first game of the year on Monday night, Robinson recorded one carry for zero yards against St. Louis.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Derek Moye, considered a long shot to make the team in August, recorded his first career touchdown in September against the Cincinnati Bengals. He has two catches for 20 yards and a touchdown on the year, and has now seen game action in five of the Steelers’ seven games.
In one of the cooler Penn State-related moments of the season so far, Moye was reunited with his former teammates Matt McGloin and Jack Crawford after the Steelers-Raiders game on Sunday (h/t @drewBbalis):
The Miami Dolphins had high hopes coming into the year, but haven’t played up to their potential to this point. The same can be said for former Nittany Lions Jared Odrick and Cameron Wake. Coming off career years, the duo expected to be a force for the Dolphins’ defensive front, but have only combined for 30 tackles and 5.5 sacks so far.
Rookies Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges have both seen game action for the Minnesota Vikings through their first seven games. After being left on the inactive list for the first two weeks, Mauti has been active for the last five games, and has recorded four tackles in that span. Hodges has been active for two games, and has one tackle. Both are still listed as backups at the linebacker spot.
NaVorro Bowman is having another standout season for the San Fransisco 49ers. He leads one of the best defenses in the league with 69 tackles, and also has 2 sacks and a forced fumble to his name.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, and defensive end Tamba Hali is looking to keep it that way. Hali has 25 tackles already, and his 9 sacks give him the fourth-most in the league. Hali also has four forced fumbles, and this pick-six.
Kicker Robbie Gould has solidified his spot as one of the best kickers in the league, and his 2013 season will keep him there for the foreseeable future. Gould is 12 of 13 on the year on field goals, and is 21 of 22 kicking extra points, the one miss being a block against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gould also owns the longest kick of the season, booting a 58-yarder in Week 1 vs the Cincinnati Bengals.
Oakland Raiders QB Matt McGloin hasn’t seen any game action to this point, but has moved from fourth on the depth chart up to second, behind former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor. McGloin, an undrafted free agent, moved past 4th-round pick Tyler Wilson, and jumped past Matt Flynn to second after one bad start from Flynn, who was later cut. What seemed impossible a year and a half ago is now a very real possibility: Matt McGloin could potentially start an NFL game before the season is over.