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An Early Look At Penn State Football’s 2022 NFL Draft Projections

As the college football season wraps up and more and more NFL teams are eliminated from Super Bowl contention, eyes are slowly turning toward the 2022 NFL Draft.

Plenty of Penn State football players, especially on the defensive side of the ball, have chosen to leave Happy Valley with their sights set on the big leagues. From a show-stopping wideout in Jahan Dotson to fan-favorite specialist Jordan Stout, the Nittany Lions offer a strong set of players in this year’s cycle.

While the draft isn’t until late April, we went ahead and took an early look at what the current draft stock consensus is for Penn Staters using the NFL Mock Draft Database, which combines top mocks from popular outlets.

No. 27: WR Jahan Dotson

After an explosive 2021 campaign, it’s no surprise Dotson sits atop Penn State’s prospects on this year’s consensus big board. The Pennsylvania native has risen as high as No. 24 in these rankings and was recently projected to go as No. 18 by a Bleacher Report mock draft, which would send him to New Orleans.

After the first round of playoff games, a trio of mock drafts from Sporting News, PFF, and Sports Illustrated slotted Dotson at the No. 32 spot to Green Bay, which worked under the assumption that the Packers would win the Super Bowl. Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City have also been popular picks for Dotson.

No. 31: S Jaquan Brisker

Brisker isn’t far behind Dotson on the consensus big board, which has him sitting at No. 31 following an exciting weekend of playoff action. The hard-hitting safety posted 63 tackles and two interceptions during his third season in Happy Valley, making him an intriguing prospect for any NFL team.

Philadelphians might be happy to learn that the Eagles, who have three mid-to-late first-round picks, are a popular landing spot for Brisker as well. While a No. 19 selection might be a bit of a reach, according to what most mock draft makers are saying, Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey sees the City of Brotherly Love as a likely landing spot.

No. 61: LB Brandon Smith

Although he’s risen as high as No. 25 on the consensus big board, Smith is currently projected to be a second-round selection. His 6’3″, 241-pound stature makes the Virginia native a great pick for any team with a strong defensive coaching staff.

Recent mock drafts by analysts at CBS Sports and Player Profiler have slotted the linebacker as a first-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys, which would reunite Smith with his former teammate and rookie Pro Bowler Micah Parsons.

No. 67: EDGE Arnold Ebiketie

Watching Ebiketie grow as a pass rusher after transferring to Temple was one of the best storylines of Penn State’s 2021 season. Thanks to a 9.5-sack, 62-tackle campaign, the Silver Springs, Maryland prospect will almost certainly hear his name called on day one or two of the NFL Draft.

Despite a low overall ranking, Ebiketie’s stock has trended up since he’s declared for the draft. CBS Sports and PFF have pegged the defensive end as a first-round selection in recent mocks — as high as No. 20 in CBS’ case.

No. 117: OT Rasheed Walker

While Walker was once thought to be a first-round selection, a recent injury and poor play by Penn State’s offensive line have hurt his stock. He hasn’t appeared as a day one pick since November 30.

No. 170: CB Tariq Castro-Fields

Castro-Fields, who just turned 23, has been a veteran force in Penn State’s locker room for years. He finished the year with 33 tackles and is now projected to be a fifth-round selection after a recent rise in draft stock. He’s also expected to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl, which will certainly help him get his name out to more professional teams.

No. 203: LB Ellis Brooks

Since he just recently declared, it’s not a surprise that Brooks has yet to appear in recent mock drafts, especially since the NFL season isn’t over. He posted an incredible 100 tackles his final season in Happy Valley and is widely regarded as a leader of the defense, which makes him an attractive NFL prospect. He’s currently projected to go in the sixth round.

No. 261: LB/EDGE Jesse Luketa

While Luketa is currently projected to be an undrafted free agent, it’s hard to really put a pin in late-round draft selections this far out from the date, especially since most mocks don’t go past the first two days. However, an Indianapolis writer recently predicted the Colts to snag Luketa in the seventh round. The Nittany Lion’s versatile defensive ability would make him a great project pick.

No. 276: P/K Jordan Stout

As someone who also recently declared, Stout’s current draft stock is hard to put a finger on. Currently, he’s also projected to go as a UDFA. But, no one would be surprised if the Ray Guy Award finalist was swooped up by a team and converted into a starting punter a lá Blake Gillikin.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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