James Franklin's recruiting prowess has once again put a number of former Nittany Lions in position to make a big splash in the NFL draft. A year ago, Penn State had five players picked, including its first opening round selection in eight years. While it seems unlikely there will be any former Nits called on day 1 of the 2019 draft, this draft class could surpass the 2018 class in terms of total players drafted.
With 10 draft-eligible former Penn Staters, the Nittany Lions could have five or more players picked in consecutive years for the first time since 2009 (5) and 2010 (6). That has only happened one other time since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994, with five players drafted in 1995 and 10 in 1996.
The payoff of seeing players like Saquon Barkley in literally everything the NFL does, including last year's draft, is of immeasurable value to Penn State. Let's be frank, a pro job is what every player on the team is eager to attain. While so few will ultimately realize that goal, Franklin has put an astonishing number of players in the pro ranks over the last few seasons. His first recruiting class at Penn State in 2014 already has eight NFL players (Marcus Allen, Troy Apke, Saeed Blacknall, Jason Cabinda, Christian Campbell, Mike Gesicki, Chris Godwin, and Grant Haley), and will certainly add at least one or two more through this draft or free agency with Koa Farmer, Trace McSorley, Amani Oruwariye, Nick Scott, and DeAndre Thompkins. You could even tack on Troy Reeder, who transferred to Delaware following the 2015 season and is on the radar for several teams. That's an insane hit rate. Recruits and families notice things like that.
anatomy of a draft class
- Players from this group span three recruiting classes. There are five from 2014, three from 2015, and two from 2016.
- There is an even split on offense (Ryan Bates, Connor McGovern, McSorley, Miles Sanders, Thompkins) and defense (Farmer, Kevin Givens, Shareef Miller, Ouwariye, and Scott) with five players each.
- We could see a pretty wide range of potential picks with as few as four, or as many as seven. Most mock drafts have Oruwariye and Sanders competing to be the first Nittany Lion picked, with McGovern, Miller, and Bates solidly in the draft's later rounds.