As the 2021 NFL mock drafts and speculative articles continue to roll in, advanced stat-based Pro Football Focus released their "Players to Watch" list for the 2021 Draft. That list included three Penn Staters, but not as many as it should have.
At tight end, Pat Freiermuth's name unsurprisingly appears along with Florida's Kyle Pitts, Miami's Brevin Jordan, and Wisconsin's Jake Ferguson. PFF declares Pitts to be "head and shoulders above the others" (lol, wrong), but Freiermuth's all-around excellence at the position will lead to him being the first tight end chosen a year from now anyway.
Jayson Oweh's name makes an appearance on the list of edge defenders. Though PFF didn't say anything about him in the write-up, it's clear that Penn State fans aren't the only ones excited about what the former four-star could do next season. It's hard to say what type of season Oweh would need to have to vault himself into the first/second-round discussion given his limited snaps to this point, but his production in that limited time (7.0 sacks, 7.0 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles) has everyone on the edge of their seats to see what he can do in a larger role.
The final Penn Stater on the list is linebacker Micah Parsons. Here's what PFF had to say.
Even with Dylan Moses returning from injury, this class belongs to Micah Parsons. He is, for lack of a better word, a dude. The conversation around Isaiah Simmons and how he’d translate to the NFL game won’t apply to Parsons, as we’ve seen him dominate from a traditional linebacker alignment. His 91.5 overall grade was the highest of any linebacker in the country last year. Power, size, speed and length — Parsons looks like the total package.
We couldn't agree more with the sentiment that Parsons is a much better NFL prospect already than the recently-drafted Simmons. The former five-star is sure to hear his name called early in 2021.
Still, with these lists being longer than a simple top-two or three, it's surprising not to see more Penn Staters on here. At quarterback, Kyle Trask and KJ Costello, but no Sean Clifford? At running back, no Journey Brown? No Michal Menet among the interior linemen? No PJ Mustipher with the interior defensive linemen?
Guess those guys will just have to prove on the field how big of a mistake excluding them is.