Six Nittany Lions Sign As Undrafted NFL Free Agents

By Matthew Filipovits on April 29, 2019 at 10:55 am
Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of the NFL shield logo at midfield during Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL draft has come and gone with six Nittany Lions hearing their names called throughout the weekend. However, not all of the Penn Staters who hoped to get that call this weekend were so lucky. Thankfully, six players didn't have to wait long to get their shot at the NFL, signing as undrafted free agents.

Kevin Givens, DT - San Francisco 49ers

Givens was projected as late-round pick in many mock drafts, but his status as somewhat of a tweener is probably what kept him from being selected. He has a good chance to latch on in San Francisco, where the Niners are looking to bolster the 28th-ranked defense in the NFL.

Kyle Vasey, LS - Atlanta Falcons

Heck yeah Kyle Vasey. You rarely heard his name in the two years as the long snapper, which is a sign he was doing his job perfectly. 

Ryan bates, ol - pHILADELPHIA eAGLES

Like Givens, Bates was projected to be a late round pick, but ended up falling out of the draft. The Warrington native will try his luck with his hometwon Philadelphia Eagles. Every team wants depth along the offensive line and Bates' versatility could help him prove he's worthy of protecting Carson Wentz.

Deandre Thompkins, WR - Philadelphia Eagles

The fourth Nittany Lions to become an Eagle, Thompkins seemed like a lock to have his name called heading into the season. After a down 2018 season, he will try to regain his form in Philadelphia. He could latch on as a return man as well. 

Johnathan Thomas, RB - Cincinnati Bengals

Thomas is one of the more fascinating signees for the Nittany Lions. A physical freak, he was buried on the depth chart for most of his career, but made a living on special teams. At 5'11/218, he certainly looks the part of an NFL back, and if he adds some more weight he could (avert your eyes) develop into a pretty good fullback.

Koa Farmer, LB - Oakland raiders

The California native is heading home (at least until the Raiders move to Las Vegas). Farmer had a great Pro Day, which certainly got him on a few team's radars. He was never really built like a linebacker, so maybe he can move back to safety at the next level and have a good chance to make a contribution there, or on special teams.

Over the years, many former Nittany Lions have gone on to have long NFL careers despite not being drafted. Cameron Wake and Robbie Gould almost immediately come to mind, as both of them will go down as legends for their respective teams. More recently, guys like Jason Cabinda, Grant Haley, and Trevor Williams have become productive players in their young careers. It's a safe bet that the same will be true for some of at least some of these guys too.