Day 2 could benefit Lions
UNIVERSITY PARK — As many as three Penn State players could be selected on the second day of the NFL draft this evening, and several more could hear their names called this weekend.
There are plenty of questions that remain to be answered this weekend.
Which Nittany Lion player will be picked first? Will Trace McSorley get drafted at all? And will Kevin Givens’ gamble entering the draft a year early pay off with him getting selected?
All of those factors make this an interesting draft from a Penn State perspective.
Here’s how NFL.com graded the Lions’ draft-eligible players, on a scale to 10, with 5.50-5.99 meaning a chance to be a starter in the NFL:
1. RB Miles Sanders (5.80)
2. OL Connor McGovern (5.76)
3. CB Amani Oruwariye (5.67)
4. DE Shareef Miller (5.53)
5. DT Kevin Givens (5.17)
6. OL Ryan Bates (5.10)
7. S Nick Scott (4.99)
8. QB Trace McSorley (4.98)
The first four guys in that list are certain draft picks, but nothing is guaranteed for the remaining four. As always, all it takes is for one team to like a player, so Givens, Bates, Scott and McSorley have a shot because they worked out for various NFL clubs.
Here’s an overview of what to expect in the draft:
Top three guys
Sanders, McGovern and Oruwariye are all possibilities to be picked in the second round, although it’s more likely all three will go in the third round.
A case can be made for each player as a second-round pick. Sanders has the kind of all-around skill set that could make him an every-down running back. Oruwariye has very good coverage skills. McGovern has a chance to be a 10-year offensive linemen.
There are questions, though, about each player. Can Sanders catch the ball and block well enough to warrant a high draft spot? Is Oruwariye fast enough to stick with the speediest receivers? While solid, is McGovern the kind of guy who can dominate on the line of scrimmage?
Two solid choices
Miller will be drafted, probably in the fourth or fifth round. He’s got a lot of upside but is still raw and may take a couple of years to develop into a quality edge rusher.
Miller came out a year early and could have benefited from another season in college. But if he goes as high as the fourth round, his decision will be justified.
Bates also left a year early, and he faces an uncertain weekend. He’s projected well by some and not well at all by others, so he could go as high as the fifth round or not get drafted at all.
Bates got a lot of experience as a three-year starter at Penn State, and he can play multiple positions on the line. That helps his stock a lot. But like McGovern, Bates was merely just solid and never really dominant at Penn State, so there are questions about how he will handle NFL competition.
Nothing is Givens
Givens stunned many by declaring early for the draft, and there’s no guarantee he will be picked.
He is rated well by NFL.com, which sees him as a possible fifth-round selection. Ourlads has him going late in the seventh round to the Patriots (No. 243 overall out of 254 picks), while Drafttek does not have him getting selected.
The Altoona product can play defensive tackle, can step over and play the edge or potentially could be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. It all depends on what body style he or a given team wants him to have.
“I’m going to be the best player I can be, do whatever you need me to do on the D-Line. I feel like I’m versatile,” Givens said.
Givens’ agent, Kaveh Akbari, declined to name specific teams as potential destinations, but it’s believed New England, Buffalo and the New York Jets have shown particular interest.
“It’s a really exciting time,” Akbari said. “We’re getting good feedback. Kevin has done everything he can to put himself in position, and it just takes one team to really like him.”
Givens plans to watch the draft with a small get-together in Altoona.
McSorley is the winningest quarterback in Penn State history, but he is unlikely to be drafted. There are concerns about his size and arm strength, but that’s nothing new going back to his high school days.
McSorley’s path to NFL success likely will have to come as someone who gets into camp as an undrafted free agent, finds the right system and impresses the coaches with his football IQ. Don’t be surprised if the Patriots give him a shot, since he could turn out to be the kind of versatile player Bill Belichick likes.
Scott is a smart player who can fill various roles, including special teams, which will help him find a landing spot as an undrafted free agent.