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Penn State Nittany Lions NFL Draft Prospects: What to Expect From Arnold Ebiketie, Jahan Dotson & More

Penn State Nittany Lions NFL Draft Prospects: What to Expect From Arnold Ebiketie, Jahan Dotson & More article feature image
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Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Jahan Dotson.

Penn State Nittany Lions are no stranger to the NFL Draft. PSU’s NFL pedigree is set to increase this week, as the 2022 draft kicks off on Thursday.

There are a number of former Nittany Lions set to hear their names called, including wide receiver Jahan Dotson, safety Jaquan Brisker and even punter Jordan Stout.

Our Mike Ianniello breaks down all of Penn State’s NFL Draft prospects, including strengths, weaknesses and when they should hear their names called.


Penn State 2022 NFL Draft Prospects

WR Jahan Dotson | 1st Round

Penn State has a chance to have a wide receiver drafted in the first round for the first time since Bryant Johnson back in 2003.

Jahan Dotson finished his career second all-time in Nittany Lion history in career receptions and touchdowns. In 2021, he totaled 91 catches for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns — all ranking second in Penn State history for a single season.

Dotson was at his best in the biggest games. In the last two years against Ohio State, he totaled 19 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns. The first-team All-Big Ten selection is just 5-foot-11 but ran a 4.43 40-yard dash.

That being said, anybody who says Dotson’s greatest strength is his speed didn’t watch him play. His best attribute is his hands. He had just two drops all season and uses his athleticism and body control to play way above his size.

JAHAN DOTSON THE ONE-HANDED GOD!!! 😱😱 pic.twitter.com/W7EAyJejxZ

— Mike Ianniello (@Ianniello21) November 1, 2020

Dotson is an excellent route runner, and his ability to change speeds within his route allows him to get open and make plays. He’s not an elite deep ball threat but has the shiftiness and hands to be an immediate slot receiver.

The over/under for wide receivers drafted in Round 1 is set at 6.5, and almost every outlet has Dotson ranked as the No. 5 or No. 6 Wide Receiver.

I think Dotson sneaks into the late first round and would draft his draft position under 32.5.

 

S Jaquan Brisker | 2nd Round

Depending on where you look, Jaquan Brisker is ranked as either the third- or fourth-best safety in this draft.

The second team All-American totaled 64 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups in his senior season at Penn State. Brisker is as tough as they come and played through a banged-up shoulder for most of the year.

He has huge hands and great instincts in pass coverage and anticipation and aggressiveness in run defense. Brisker flies to the ball and is a terrific tackler. He plays physical and is at his best when moving forward and attacking the ball carrier.

Brisker provides a defense versatility, as he can move around to linebacker and slot corner as well. Penn State is sneakily becoming a safety factory with Adrian Amos, Troy Apke and Nick Scott all starting in the NFL.

Brisker should be an NFL starter in a short time and projects to be the best of the group.

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DE Arnold Ebiketie | 2nd Round

Outside of Jermaine Johnson, I’m not sure if any 2021 transfer had more of an impact on the defensive side of the ball than Arnold Ebiketie.

After three years at Temple, Ebiketie transferred to Penn State and racked up 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Those totals ranked second and third in the Big Ten, respectively.

He has powerful hands and is aggressive with his initial attack. He doesn’t have the same bend to his game as other top edge rushers, but he consistently gets after the quarterback.

After Odafe Oweh in 2021 and Yetur Gross-Matos in 2020, Ebiketie should make it three straight years with a Penn State defensive end going in the first two rounds.

OT Rasheed Walker | 4th Round

Rasheed Walker checks in at 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds and uses his strength and power to overwhelm rushers.

He can be beaten on the outside by speed rushers but does a good job cutting down the inside rush.

Walker was much better in 2020 than last year and missed the end of the season with an injury. He probably needs a little help before earning a starting gig, but his size and raw power make him a high-upside pick early on Day 3.

college football-bowl projections-projected spreads-brett mcmurphy-week 8
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: The crowd at a Penn State football game.

CB Tariq Castro-Fields | 4th Round

Known as Linebacker U and with a recent run of star defensive linemen and safeties, cornerbacks have long been the weakness of Penn State’s defense. A Nittany Lion cornerback hasn’t been drafted in the first three rounds since 2004, and only three have been drafted at all since 2008.

Tariq Castro-Fields could sneak into the third round but more likely goes in the fourth. Castro-Fields ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine, one of the fastest times at the position.

He’s big, long and very physical without picking up penalties. He doesn’t have the best ball skills and isn’t the smoothest in coverage, especially against man.

His speed and size will make him a solid depth cornerback with a safe floor.

LB Brandon Smith | 4th Round

After six years without a Nittany Lion linebacker getting drafted, Linebacker U is set to have one selected for the third straight year with Brandon Smith.

The former five-star recruit is a freak athlete, and given his speed, size and coverage skills, he should have been much more productive than he was.

Smith has trouble getting off of blocks and isn’t the strongest tackler. His anticipation and football IQ make him a bit of an underachieving linebacker, but perhaps he can use his speed and size to develop into a solid edge rusher.

EDGE Jesse Luketa | 5th Round

After spending his first three years at linebacker, Jesse Luketa transitioned to defensive end in 2021 and totaled 61 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss.

Luketa proved to be one of the hardest workers on the Nittany Lions and can never be accused of taking a play off. One of the team’s leaders, Luketa is beloved by his coaches and teammates.

He doesn’t have any elite NFL traits, but he possesses a high motor, great instincts and works his bag off.

Luketa projects as a great versatile depth guy and special teamer who is a good addition to a winning locker room culture.

P Jordan Stout | 6th Round

If Matt Araiza is the Punt God, Jordan Stout might be the Punt Prince.

Stout averaged over 46 yards per punt last season and balanced the ability to bomb the ball with a 76-yard long while also pinning 37-of-67 punts inside the 20.

His 4.34-second average hang time finished as the highest in the country. Stout can also handle kickoff duties, with over 90% of his kickoffs resulting in a touchback, the best in college football.

If you can find odds for the second punter drafted or over 1.5 punters drafted, take it. Stout will hear his name called this weekend.

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