PSU has 3 players drafted on Day 3
UNIVERSITY PARK–Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney (7th round, 246th overall, Washington Football Team), center Michal Menet (7th round, 247th overall, Arizona Cardinals) and offensive tackle (7th round, 248th overall, Indianapolis Colts) were each chosen consecutively on the third day of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
Toney, Menet and Fries join Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (12th overall, Dallas Cowboys), defensive end Jayson Oweh (31st overall, Baltimore Ravens) and tight end Pat Freiermuth (55th overall, Pittsburgh Steelers) as the six 2021 Nittany Lion draft picks.
Penn State has had 23 players total selected in the last four NFL Drafts, the most in a four-draft span since 1993-96 (27 players drafted). In addition, the Nittany Lions have had five or more picks in four consecutive years, the first time since PSU had a string of seven-straight drafts of five or more picks (1978-84).
A total of 367 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, which ranks seventh among Division I institutions. Penn State has had 50 draft picks since 2010. A total of 32 Nittany Lions have been drafted since head coach James Franklin’s arrival to the program.
With Toney’s selection, 15 Penn State defensive linemen have been NFL Draft choices since 2006. Toney is the 20th Nittany Lion defensive end all-time to be drafted. He and Jayson Oweh are the first defensive end duo to be drafted in the same year for Penn State since 1975 (Mike Hartenstine and Greg Murphy).
Toney is the 23rd Penn State player to be drafted by Washington and the first since Troy Apke (4th round, 109th overall in 2018).
“We are so proud to hear Shaka’s name called by the Washington Football Team,” said Franklin. “Shaka’s journey from Philadelphia to Happy Valley to Washington is personally gratifying because I know how much he has overcome. Shaka is built for this opportunity. He possesses tremendous football IQ and when you match this with his quickness and athleticism, Washington is getting one heck of a football player. He provides a ton of position flexibility and versatility, as he has the skillset to play in a variety of defensive schemes. He was a team captain as a senior, appeared in 47 career games at Penn State, and was an All-Big Ten first team selection in 2020. We look forward to watching him compete on Sundays and wish him nothing but the best in his NFL career.”
“Shaka Toney is a very smart football player,” said defensive line coach John Scott Jr. “The Washington Football Team is getting a player that’s going to understand the entire defense, he’ll be able to get guys lined up and he is a really good pass rusher. He plays with his hands, he can rush with speed, he can rush with power and he has an assortment of moves that he is really good at. A lot of people don’t realize how well Shaka can drop into coverage, he can blitz off the edge and he can stunt inside. He can play at defensive end or he can play outside linebacker. Washington is getting a really good football player that can do a lot of different things and provide help at a lot of different spots and areas.”
Menet is the first Penn State center to be drafted since Stefen Wisniewski was chosen in the second round, 48th overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2011. Menet is the 20th Penn State center drafted all-time and the 10th player selected by the Arizona Cardinals.
“We are extremely happy for Michal and the opportunity he is getting with the Arizona Cardinals,” said Franklin. “Michal is a smart, athletic football player who brings value as a guy who can play multiple positions as an interior offensive lineman. He was voted a two-time team captain by his teammates and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. In addition to his 46 career games and 34 career starts, Michal demonstrated what it meant to be a Penn State student-athlete, earning his degree in psychology in December 2020. We appreciate Michal’s commitment to our program and know his skills will translate well for the Cardinals organization.”
“Michal Menet is a special football player who has the ability to be a starter in the NFL because of his intelligence and durability,” said offensive line coach Phil Trautwein. “He started 34 games for us and was a proven leader that guys in the offensive line room were able to learn from. His toughness and physicality will allow him to have a long and successful NFL career.”
Fries is the first Penn State tackle to be drafted since Donovan Smith was chosen in the second round, 34th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015. Fries is the 33rd Penn State tackle drafted all-time and the 22nd player selected by the Indianapolis Colts.
“Will is extremely deserving of this opportunity with the Indianapolis Colts,” said Franklin. “He is the model of what coaches and the front office want in their organization. His mentality and approach to his preparation set him apart from others. His versatility along the offensive line will make him a huge asset at the next level. He had an excellent career for us, playing in 48 career games and making 42 starts. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and exemplified a Penn State student-athlete, earning his degree in economics in December 2019. No player has helped himself more from the conclusion of the season to the Draft than Will has with his work ethic and development, which was obvious to all in attendance at Pro Day. He deserves this opportunity in the NFL, and we look forward to seeing his future unfold on Sundays.”
“Will Fries has made so many contributions to this program and was a great mentor to the younger guys in our position room,” said Trautwein. “His versatility and ability to play any position will bode well for him in the NFL. He loves the game of football, is coachable, and is technically and fundamentally sound. I look forward to watching him compete on Sundays.”