Where Do Nittany Lions Fall In Final 2022 NFL Mock Drafts?
It’s draft day, folks.
There’s a handful of former Penn State football stars who have the chance to hear their names called during the three-day, seven-round NFL Draft. Jahan Dotson, Jaquan Brisker, and Arnold Ebiketie are primed as early-round picks, while players like Jesse Luketa and Tariq Castro-Fields are expected to hear their names called later on.
Before the league is on the clock, let’s see what some “draft experts” are projecting one final time.
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com)
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah released his final mock draft Wednesday night. In it, he has the Dallas Cowboys selecting Dotson with the No. 24 overall pick. He says Dotson has the best hands in the draft and that the wideout will help fill the void left by Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson’s departures.
If Jeremiah is correct with his predictions, Dotson would be the sixth wideout selected in the draft. However, the analyst doesn’t think any other Penn Staters will be drafted in the first round.
Charles Davis (NFL.com)
In his final mock draft, NFL.com’s Charles Davis has the Green Bay Packers selecting Dotson with the No. 22 overall pick. In this scenario, Dotson would be the fifth wideout taken and the fourth Big Ten player snagged off the board.
Davis says Dotson will give the Packers exactly what head coach Matt LaFleur wants: a wideout who can “take the top off a defense.” If Davis’ prediction comes true, the Penn State receiver would be the first wideout the Packers take in the first round in 20 years.
Besides Dotson, Davis doesn’t believe any other Nittany Lions will hear their names called during the first round of the draft.
Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports)
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports, like Davis, has the Packers taking Dotson with the No. 22 overall pick in his mock draft. The draft analyst sees Dotson as a perfect fit for Green Bay’s offense.
“Dotson is the exact type of receiver who’ll thrive in Green Bay with Rodgers because of his crisp route-running,” Trapasso wrote.
Trapasso has a second Penn Stater coming off the board in the first round, too. He thinks the Kansas City Chiefs will take edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie with the No. 29 overall pick. Trapasso believes Ebiketie would bring “more pass-rushing juice” to Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
If two Nittany Lions hear their names called in round one, it would mark the second consecutive year that happened. Penn State hasn’t had two or more first-round picks in back-to-back years since 1995 and 1996.
Chad Reuter (NFL.com)
In NFL.com’s Chad Reuter’s seven-round mock draft, he has eight Nittany Lions drafted starting in the second round.
He thinks Dotson and Ebiketie go off the board with consecutive picks to the Washington Commanders at No. 47 overall and the Chicago Bears at No. 48 overall, respectively. Three picks later, he predicts the Philadelphia Eagles will take Brisker with the No. 51 overall pick. You’d have to go back all the way to 1980 to see the last time three Nittany Lions were selected in the first round.
In a bit of a surprise, Reuter has Tariq Castro-Fields picked at the end of the third round by the Eagles with the No. 101 overall pick. Reuter is higher on the cornerback than others, as he’s generally expected to be taken in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft.
Reuter thinks two Nittany Lions — Rasheed Walker and Brandon Smith — will hear their names called in the fourth round. He has the Broncos taking Walker with the No. 115 overall pick, while he has Smith slotting in at No. 124 to the Eagles. If you’re sensing a trend, you’re not crazy. According to Reuter, three Penn Staters will head to Philadelphia to play for the Eagles.
He believes the Minnesota Vikings will take Jesse Luketa in the fifth round with the No. 156 overall pick. To polish things off, he has punter Jordan Stout being picked in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 185 overall pick.
If eight Penn Staters are drafted, it would be quite a year for the program. The last time at least eight Nittany Lions were drafted was in 1996 when a whopping 10 Penn State players were selected.
Danny Kelly (The Ringer)
The Ringer’s Danny Kelly has the Arizona Cardinals taking Dotson with the No. 23 overall pick in his mock draft. Kelly raves about Dotson, going as far as to call him a “slippery route technician.”
“Dotson can line all over the formation for Arizona and threaten all three levels of the field,” Kelly wrote. “He has the best hands in the draft and is a savvy route runner.”
Kelly agrees with Trapasso when it comes to Ebiketie, as he has the star edge rusher going No. 29 overall to the Chiefs. The analyst calls Ebiketie a “hard-charging edge rusher” who boasts explosiveness and productivity.
“Ebiketie is a productive rusher off the edge who combines size, length, and a nice foundation of pass-rush moves; he should be a factor early in his career,” he wrote.
Bucky Brooks (NFL.com)
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com thinks just one Nittany Lion will come off the board in the first round of the draft. He thinks the Detroit Lions will snag Ebiketie with the No. 32 overall pick to bolster their pass rush.
“The Lions need more athletic defenders on the field to have a chance to close the gap on their rivals,” Brooks wrote. “Ebiketie flashes impressive first-step quickness and closing speed as a ‘bend-and-burst’ rusher off the edge.”
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About the Author
Nittany Lions old and new have received new jersey numbers ahead of the 2022 season.