Penn State’s Seven NFL Combine Participants Put Together Impressive Weekend
The NFL held its annual Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis over the first weekend of March, and seven Penn Staters took the field to showcase their skills in front of NFL executives and scouts.
Miles Sanders, Connor McGovern, Ryan Bates, Trace McSorley, Shareef Miller, Kevin Givens, and Amani Oruwariye all represented the Nittany Lions at the Combine. From second-position requests to blazing fast 40-yard dash times, their weekends featured a little bit of everything.
Trace McSorley wore his familiar No. 9 at the Combine, and his solid performance won’t hurt his NFL Draft stock at all. The headliner of McSorley’s performance was his official 40-yard dash time of 4.57 seconds, which was the fastest of all quarterbacks.
McSorley also completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.12 seconds, posted a 9’7″ broad jump, and completed the three-cone drill in 7.09 seconds. His passing wasn’t perfect in terms of completed passes, but the quarterback zipped the ball across the field with accuracy and pace throughout the day.
Perhaps the most interesting development of McSorley’s Combine experience was the request to work out at defensive back he received from NFL teams. He was recruited as a safety coming out of high school, but rejected the request.
Miles Sanders gave his NFL Draft stock a big boost with an excellent showcase at the Combine.
Sanders was named to NFL.com’s all-Combine team thanks to his performance. His 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds didn’t rank among the top five among running backs participating, but it was still impressive. Among his other numbers included a 10’4″ broad jump, 36-inch vertical, and a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.19 seconds. He also completed the three-cone drill in 6.89 seconds, which was the best time of all running backs.
The former five-star recruit also looked crisp in other drills, and he was particularly good in terms of catching passes. Sanders proved his versatility and showed he can be effective in more than one way.
Naturally, there were plenty of comparisons to Saquon Barkley throughout the weekend. Sanders even said the New York Giants’ running backs coach expressed interest in reuniting the duo at the NFL Draft.
Amani Oruwariye was the last Penn Stater to complete his workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine, but that didn’t stop him from balling out.
Oruwariye looked fantastic in the various different defensive back drills he completed, and he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash to rank tied for fifth among defensive backs. The all-Big Ten corner finished in a tie for fifth in his position group with 17 bench press reps.
The corner’s 36.5-inch vertical ranked near the middle of his position group, but Oruwariye showed flashes of why some experts viewed him as a first-round talent at times this season.
Shareef Miller’s speed was on full display at the Combine during his 4.69-second 40-yard dash.
Miller’s 40 time put him just outside the top 10 among edge rushers, and he looked fluid in the drills specifically for edge rushers. He did struggle in the bench press and vertical jump with last-place finishes among his position group in each event.
The defensive end ranks 12th among a stacked group of edge-rushing prospects in this year’s NFL Draft class, according to NFL.com’s player rankings.
Kevin Givens’ Combine didn’t get off to the best start with a 5.09-second 40 time in his first attempt, but he showed tons of improvement in his second try with an unofficial time of 4.87 seconds.
He also posted a 10-yard split of 1.59 seconds in his second try. For comparison, Aaron Donald — one of the league’s best defensive linemen — posted a 1.64-second 10-yard split at his Combine. Givens may never reach the level of stardom Donald has, but his 40 time and 10-yard split are good indicators of his speed.
Givens finished third among defensive linemen with 32 reps on the bench press, but his three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times of 7.63 and 4.62 seconds, respectively, finished in the middle of the pack among his position group. His 9’7″ broad jump ranked ninth among defensive frontmen.
Connor McGovern currently projects as NFL.com’s fifth-best offensive line prospect available in this year’s draft, and he backed that up with his performance at the Combine.
McGovern finished tied for ninth among offensive linemen with 28 reps on the bench press, and he also posted a 7.66-second three-cone drill. He also finished ninth in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.57 seconds, and his 9’4″ broad jump was the eighth-best among offensive linemen.
As a projected mid-round pick, McGovern could add value to teams in need of help on the offensive line next season and beyond.
Ryan Bates made a nice case for himself at the Combine by finishing in the top 10 of four different drills.
Bates’ best performance was in the three-cone drill — his time of 7.45 seconds finished third among all participating offensive linemen. Additionally, the tackle completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.53 seconds and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.09 seconds to rank fifth and tenth, respectively, among offensive linemen.
Speed isn’t essential for a good offensive lineman, but Bates showcased that and his agility in the workouts he completed. He registered the same amount of reps as McGovern on the bench press.
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About the Author
College GameDay will move to the HUB lawn after spending the past two White Out weekends on Old Main lawn.
Sam Ficken’s winding football journey has taken him from Indiana to New York with several stops in between. Now, as a Jet, he’s finally settled down in a consistent role.
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