Six Nittany Lions Sign As NFL Undrafted Free Agents

By Matthew Filipovits on April 26, 2020 at 10:38 am
Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Fireworks go off inside of Beaver Stadium prior to the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
© Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft has come and gone with five Nittany Lions hearing their names called. They weren't the only Penn Staters to land in the NFL this weekend, however. Six Nittany Lions will get an opportunity to make rosters as undrafted free agents.

Steven Gonzalez, OG - Arizona Cardinals

A three-year starter along the offensive line, Steven Gonzalez was a second-team All-Big Ten selection this season. He'll look to help protect former No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray on a Cardinal offensive line that gave up 50 sacks last season. Gonzo has as good a chance any to make the final 53-man roster, as Arizona selected just one offensive lineman in the draft.

Nick Bowers, TE - Las VEgas Raiders

There's an alternate universe where Nick Bowers never gets hurt and is a two-time All American. The fifth-year senior had the fourth-most receiving yards last season, despite registering just 10 catches. A willing blocker, he has the kind of toughness Jon Gruden loves.

Garrett Taylor, S - Buffalo Bills

A corner-turned-safety, Garrett Taylor has an appealing background for a lot of teams. He's played a major role for Penn State on special teams in the past, which could be his path to a roster spot in the pros.

Blake Gillikin, P - New Orleans Saints

The Punter That Was Promised will get his shot in the Big Easy. It's not uncommon for teams to bring in a few specialists during mini camps for a look, but Gillikin's background as a holder could keep him around a bit longer.

Jan Johnson, LB - Houston Texans

From Penn State's wrestling team to run-on tight end, to two-time captain and starting linebacker, to the NFL, Jan Johnson has taken one of the more unlikely paths to a professional contract. The former walk-on is one of the smartest football players in this class, something Bill O'Brien has to admire. 

Dan Chisena, WR - Minnesota Vikings 

A former Penn State track athlete, Chisena became a special teams ace this season. He's got blazing speed and had Penn State held their Pro Day, it's very possible his testing numbers would have been enough for a team to call his name. He's the kind of guy who could hang around the league for a long time.

The transfers

  • Juwan Johnson, WR - New Orleans Saints
  • Brandon Polk, WR - Los Angeles Rams

Two former four-star receivers in Penn State's 2015 class have also landed professional contracts. Juwan Johnson will join his old teammate Tommy Stevens in New Orleans, while Brandon Polk will suit up for the Los Angeles Rams.