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Where Do Nittany Lions Fall In Final 2021 NFL Mock Drafts?

We’re just two days away from the 2021 NFL Draft, folks!

Multiple Nittany Lions have the chance to hear their names called over the three-day, seven-round draft, including a few who could go in the first round. Micah Parsons, Jayson Oweh, and Pat Freiermuth are primed for early-round selections, while guys like Shaka Toney and Michal Menet could hear their names called in the later rounds.

For one final time before the real thing, here’s what some “draft experts” have to say about Penn Staters hoping to live out their NFL dreams.

Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports)

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson has a bit of a surprise in his latest three-round mock draft. Wilson has Oweh, not Parsons, as the first Nittany Lion off the board. He has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Oweh with the No. 24 overall pick, which would make him the fourth EDGE rusher picked.

“Oweh is raw but has the physical tools the Steelers covet, and in a few years we could be talking about him the way we were talking about Bud Dupree once he grew into his role,” Wilson said.

For context, Dupree has improved drastically since he entered the league in 2015, as he totaled 11.5 sacks in 2019 and eight sacks in 2020 despite playing in only 11 games.

Shockingly, Wilson doesn’t have Parsons being drafted until the No. 26 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. It’s certainly not a popular opinion to have Parsons selected so late, but Wilson cites “maturity concerns” as a reason for the slide.

“Parsons, a top-5 talent, falls to 26 because of maturity concerns,” he said. “If all that is behind him, he will be a Day 1 impact player.”

The last Nittany Lion in Wilson’s mock draft is Freiermuth, as the big tight end is predicted to go No. 47 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers. If he were to be drafted by the Chargers, Freiermuth would replace tight end Hunter Henry, who signed with the Patriots this offseason.

Rhett Lewis (NFL.com)

Rhett Lewis, an NFL.com draft analyst, has two Nittany Lions being selected in the first round of his latest mock draft. Unlike Wilson, Lewis has Parsons going to the New England Patriots with the No. 15 overall pick. However, Lewis said he could see Parsons being selected as high as No. 7 overall.

“Arguably the best defender in this draft, Parsons is a monster talent,” Lewis said. “A dominant off-ball linebacker with pass-rush potential and playmaking ability at the second level, Parsons is a player the Patriots’ defense hasn’t had since Jamie Collins was in his prime.”

The other Penn Stater mentioned in Lewis’ mock draft is Oweh, as he has the 6’5″ defensive end going to the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers with the No. 32 overall pick. Lewis calls it a “luxury pick” and says that the “supremely athletic” Oweh will get to learn from Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, while also contributing in a rotational role.

Chad Reuter (NFL.com)

NFL.com’s Chad Reuter recently released a seven-round mock draft that includes six Nittany Lions. Reuter disagrees with Wilson and Lewis, as he has the Detroit Lions swapping picks with the Broncos and selecting Parsons with the No. 9 overall pick.

Additionally, Oweh finds himself in the first round in Reuter’s predictions, this time to the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 30 overall pick. Reuter acknowledges that Oweh didn’t have any sacks last year but predicts the freakish defensive end will be able to get to the quarterback at the next level.

Like Wilson, Reuter has Freiermuth landing in the middle of the second round. According to the analyst’s predictions, Freiermuth will be selected with the No. 44 overall pick and move down to Texas to play for America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Penn State’s other NFL hopeful EDGE rusher, Shaka Toney, makes an appearance in Reuter’s mock draft. The Philadelphia native lands in the fifth round with the No. 156 overall pick to the Miami Dolphins.

Former Nittany Lion cornerback Zech McPhearson transferred to Texas Tech after the 2018 season, and he finds himself going in the sixth round of this mock draft to the Houston Texans with the No. 203 overall pick. If Reuter is right, McPhearson will reunite with former teammate and fellow cornerback John Reid in Houston.

Finally, center and offensive line anchor Michal Menet is predicted to go in the sixth round to the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 207 overall pick.

Patrik Walker (CBS Sports)

Patrik Walker of CBS Sports is yet another draft analyst predicting Parsons and Oweh to hear their names called on the first night of the 2021 NFL Draft.

After a two-year career at Penn State that saw Parsons total 191 tackles and 18 tackles for loss, Walker has the Washington Football Team taking the star-studded linebacker with the No. 19 overall pick. The CBS Sports analyst says Washington head coach Ron Rivera is able to recognize elite linebacker talent.

Oweh, who totaled 63 tackles and seven sacks in his Nittany Lion career, is mocked to the New Orleans Saints with the No. 28 overall pick. Walker mentions the addition of Oweh will help the Saints get to Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, something the squad struggled with last season.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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