Penn State University has enjoyed a long and storied history in college football and has some great NFL players. The likes of linebacker Jack Ham (Pittsburgh Steelers) and guard Mike Munchak (Houston Oilers) learned their trade playing in the famed navy-blue of the Penn State Nittany Lions. But which Penn State talents are projected to be selected in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft?
How many Penn State players will be selected in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft?
The Penn State Nittany Lions will be sending six players to the NFL: Pat Friermuth, Will Fries, Mike Menet, Jayson Oweh, Micah Parsons, and Shaka Toney.
Scouring through NFL analysts' mock drafts, however, most have just the two Penn State players projected to go in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. But which ones?
2021 NFL Draft: best prospe from Penn State
Linebacker, Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons may have opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but the decision doesn't appear to have harmed his draft stock. Parsons had already produced two seasons of impactful play at the linebacker position during his time at Penn State, tallying up 5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles during his first two seasons in college football.
Without Parsons, the Nittany Lions defense struggled to make big plays in 2020 and wasn't nearly as fearful a prospect as it had been with the star linebacker in the team. Parsons is one of those players who comes out flying during big moments in a game: on third-down, in the red zone, etc. Penn State was nowhere near as resilient without him.
Parsons has an uncanny ability to beat offensive linemen and get to the opposing QB. He also showed a natural ability to read the game during Penn State's 2018 & 2019 campaigns in the NCAA, so it's little wonder he is currently predicted to go off the board as one of the top 10 picks, with most analysts expecting the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos to be keen on his signature.
Linebacker, Jayson Oweh
Jayson Oweh is much more of a work in progress than his Nittany Lions teammate Micah Parsons.
There is no doubting Oweh's athletic prowess; he is expected to run a 4.3 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but - though he did chalk up 5 sacks during Penn State's 2019 season - in the light of Parsons' absence from the team during 2020 -Oweh struggled with the extra attention and failed to hit a single sack all year. Oweh has all the tools required to go onto big things in the NFL but, at present, he'd have to be considered one for the future; it might take a few seasons before any team drafting this kid gets to see the very best of him, but I do think he was all the talent required to one day go on to be one of the NFL's premier pass rushers.
What do you guys think? Are there any other Nittany Lions who deserve to go off the board in the first-round? have your say in the comments section below: