Fifteen Penn State Lettermen Join NFL Teams Following 2022 NFL Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft is officially in the books!

After the three-day, seven-round draft, 15 former Penn State football players have found new homes in the NFL — eight as draftees and seven as undrafted free agents.

Wide receiver Jahan Dotson kicked off the weekend for the Nittany Lions. He came off the board at No. 16 overall with the Washington Commanders in the first round of the draft, making him the first draft pick in the newly named franchise’s history. The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native will wear No. 1 with the Commanders.

After no Penn Staters heard their names called for the rest of the first night, the Atlanta Falcons selected defensive end Arnold Ebiketie at No. 38 overall. Now, Penn State has now seen a defensive lineman drafted in the top two rounds in three straight NFL Drafts.

Just 10 picks later, the Chicago Bears picked safety Jaquan Brisker at No. 48 overall, making him the first Nittany Lion safety selected in any NFL Draft since Nick Scott joined the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. He will join the defense of newly coordinator hired Alan Williams in the Windy City.

On day three, linebacker Brandon Smith was the next Nittany Lion taken off the board. The Carolina Panthers took the Louisa, Virginia native with the No. 120 overall pick in the fourth round of the draft. Smith’s selection gives Penn State the most linebackers selected from any school in the draft’s history with 70. Smith will join Penn State alumni Yetur Gross-Matos and head coach Matt Rhule in Charlotte.

In a surprise, the Ravens selected punter Jordan Stout at No. 130 overall in the fourth round. He was the first punter to come off the board, which even got the attention of his predecessor Blake Gillikin.

The day then became quiet for Penn State until things picked back up when the San Francisco 49ers selected cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields with the No. 221 overall pick in the sixth round of the draft. Then, offensive lineman Rasheed Walker became the No. 249 overall pick in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers, joining fellow Nittany Lion Adrian Amos in Wisconsin.

Linebacker Jesse Luketa was the last Penn Stater to come off the board. The Ottowa native will head as the Canadian was selected with the No. 256 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals.

By the end of the weekend, Penn State surpassed Miami on the Super Bowl era draft boards. Nearly 300 Nittany Lions have become NFL Draft picks since 1967.

Following the draft, seven more Nittany Lions found homes in the NFL. Defensive lineman Derrick Tangelo was the first to sign as an undrafted free agent, joining Ebiketie on the Atlanta Falcons. Wide receiver Irvin Charles was next and signed with the New York Jets. Later, offensive lineman Eric Wilson reportedly agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints. Linebacker Ellis Brooks then reportedly signed with the Green Bay Packers.

Safety Drew Hartlaub kept the parade going Saturday night by signing with the Carolina Panthers. Former Penn State defensive lineman Antonio Valentino signed with the New York Giants, while running back John Lovett rounded out the group by signing with the Carolina Panthers. Lovett is the third Nittany Lion to head to Charlotte

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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