Penn State’s 2016 Pro Day Participants Announced
Update: As of Tuesday, Moye had yet to turn in paperwork necessary to participate. He would only be catching passes from Christian Hackenberg. Pro Day begins at 10 a.m.
Among the 2016 NFL Draft locks participating in Penn State’s Pro Day on March 17, there will be a few familiar faces in attendance. The list of players that will perform drills was recently announced, but two names in particular — former standout wide receiver Derek Moye and Class of 2015 member Ryan Keiser — stood out.
Moye, who saw significant regular season action in 2013 for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was most recently on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, will run routes and catch passes from Christian Hackenberg during his highly-anticipated throwing session in front of NFL scouts and coaches. Moye will use the opportunity to run drills in front of NFL representatives to potentially help springboard him back into the NFL picture. At 6-foot-5, he’s a redzone mismatch, and could certainly help bolster the rosters of teams in need of a taller receiver. Joining him during drills will be Division III All-American Jon Schnaars, hailing from James Franklin’s alma mater East Stroudsburg. Though he comes from the small school ranks, Schnaars is no slouch — he led the nation in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns as a senior in 2015. At 6-foot-3, he’s got NFL size and speed, and will be an interesting name to watch during April’s draft. Most likely, Schnaars would be added to a roster as an undrafted free agent if his name isn’t called.
Joining the rest of the offensive participants will be guard/center Angelo Mangiro, running back Brandon Johnson, and tight end Kyle Carter. Carter’s performance will be one to focus on, as it’ll be his only opportunity to run Combine-style drills in front of scouts and coaches after being snubbed from Feburary’s NFL Scouting Combine despite a solid showing at the East-West Shrine Game. Hackenberg, the day’s most important player, will try and bolster his draft stock after an up-and-down Combine showing. The gunslinger forced a few passes in Indianapolis, missing a number of routine throws high. If he can reassure scouts of his live arm throwing to some familiar faces in Holuba Hall, there’ll be much less uncertainty regarding where he’ll fall come April.
On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson, and Carl Nassib will run drills as they try and improve upon their Combine times. Nassib could certainly be the beneficiary of an improved 40 yard dash time — something that could help earn him a little more cash around draft time. Joining them will be defensive end/tackle Tarow Barney, cornerback Trevor Williams, and safety Jordan Lucas. Lucas didn’t run at the Combine, so his performance next Thursday could significantly affect his draft stock — especially as he tries to quell doubts surrounding his injured shoulder. Former wrestler and NCAA qualifier Jon Gingrich will also participate as he jumps from the mat to the gridiron.
The most intriguing participant is undoubtedly Keiser, who’s worked his way back to full health since a life-threatening bout with sepsis ended his Nittany Lion career. Keiser proved he could play by earning a starting spot and emerging as a leader for Penn State’s defensive secondary. Among the favorable NFL-caliber traits he possesses, his ball skills stand out above the rest. He’s aggressive in pursuit, and with a stellar performance during Pro Day, he could be fielding calls from NFL teams prior to training camp season. Here’s an example of Keiser’s knack for the big play that came during Illinois in 2013. Keiser’s interception sealed the game for the Nittany Lions in overtime.
There should be plenty of NFL talent evaluators on hand to watch Hackenberg’s performance, but the rest of the event’s participants will use the additional exposure to aid their NFL chances. We’ll have a report from Pro Day after workouts conclude.