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Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting writes that he's mocking Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg to the Texans "in dark pencil until I hear otherwise, even if that means mocking it in round one for now."

"From people close to the Hackenberg family and from what I’ve heard of the Texans decision-making dynamic, it’s too perfect of a fit," Galko wrote. "The Texans need an NFL-ready quarterback, and Hackenberg showed #1 overall promise with Bill O’Brien as his head coach. I have been told Connor Cook-Bill O’Brien connections in the past, and I can’t entirely rule out that connection either." O'Brien was the very first person Hackenberg thanked in his declaration speech. He's also the last coach for whom Hack played well. It wouldn't be surprising if there was fire at the end of this tunnel of smoke, but we're a few months from finding out for sure.
Feb 9 - 4:11 PM

Penn State signed four-star DT Ellison Jordan.

Jordan's a Baltimore native and played his high school ball at Gilman School. The 6-foot, 262-pound defensive lineman spoke to Pennlive.com prior to January's Under Armour All-American Bowl and indicated he had no issue with taking a redshirt as a freshman. Said Jordan, "It'd help me get better if I had a redshirt, sit out, but if they want me to come in and contribute a little bit, my main goal is to give effort and play smart." On ESPN 300's rankings, he punches the clock at No. 155 overall for the 2016 class.
Feb 5 - 10:43 PM

Penn State signed four-star CB Zechariah McPhearson.

After drawing early interest from Alabama, Boston College and Cal, McPhearson signed with Penn State in April of 2015. While he fails to crack the Rivals250, ESPN 300 checks him in at No. 129. The 6-foot, 180-pounder calls Upper Marlboro, Maryland, home. At Riverdale Baptist High School, he proved to be a "fluid athlete who is a threat in the return game and [could] play either receiver or cornerback in college," noted Brian Dohn of Scout.com. Dohn went on to voice his belief that McPhearson will need to bulk add bulk to help his physicality in attacking the run game.
Source: scout.com
Feb 4 - 9:47 PM

In light of NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport's report that the Browns will release QB Johnny Manziel, NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein speculates that the club may target a prototypical pocket-passing quarterback in the draft.

"(Browns HC Hue Jackson) gave up a first- and second-rounder to trade for Carson Palmer (with the Oakland Raiders in 2011). That should tell you something. With the Bengals, he attacked down the field. He likes a quarterback with an arm that can attack down the field vertically," Zierlein said. "Andy Dalton is a guy he's had who takes shots down the field. That's kind of how he's called his plays and that's what he sought out in Oakland." So who might be a fit in this draft class? "(Christian) Hackenberg's got a big arm and some touch down the field with it," he said. "If you want to take a (later) chance with it, it could be Hackenberg or Cardale Jones. I think the guys in the second part of the draft have as big an arm (as the top QB prospects)." Zierlein also mentioned North Carolina State's Jacoby Brissett as an option. Of course, Jackson has indicated he wants to take a QB No. 2 overall, which would preclude these developmental types.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 2 - 7:12 PM

Penn State DT Austin Johnson "showed the ability to anchor against double teams" at the Senior Bowl, writes ESPN's Todd McShay.

The analyst ranked Johnson No. 7 among all Senior Bowl prospects. "A massive nose tackle prospect (6-foot-4, 323 pounds), Johnson excels against the run," McShay wrote. "He was a productive pass rusher this season (6.5 sacks), but that won't be his strength in the NFL." ESPN colleague Kevin Weidl says Johnson is a potential first-round pick.
Feb 1 - 4:26 PM

Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg's "upside potential excites NFL decision-makers," reports TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.

"Some eyebrows were raised when Hackenberg left for the NFL Draft after two dismal seasons, but the situation at Penn State was untenable for him," Pauline wrote. "He offers the physical skills to start on Sunday and teams truly believe with proper coaching he’ll reach his potential in the NFL, something Hackenberg would’ve never achieved on the college level. No one I’ve spoken with in the past two months believes Hackenberg will drop out of the draft’s top 75 picks." Hackenberg has been training for the draft with Jordan Palmer, brother of Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer. ESPN's Todd McShay grades the 6-foot-4, 212-pounder as a third-rounder and an anonymous NFC scout told NFL.com last month that Hack should be chosen by the end of the Round 3 "at the absolute latest."
Feb 1 - 3:54 PM

Penn State isn't going to miss QB Christian Hackenberg much, argues ESPN analyst KC Joyner.

Hack's 56.4 Total QBR against Power 5 opponents ranked No. 41 out of 57 among qualified Power 5 quarterbacks last year. Not all of that was his fault, but it was clear he wasn't a fit for James Franklin's offense. "He and James Franklin never did seem to be on the same page that Hackenberg and Bill O'Brien, Franklin's head-coaching predecessor at Penn State, were, but Franklin has a history of successfully developing passers (Josh Freeman, Danny O'Brien, Jordan Rodgers) and has three talented prospects (Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens and Jake Zembiec) to vie for the starting job," Joyner wrote. "Whoever wins that role will benefit from one of the most experienced offensive platoons in college football, as the Nittany Lions lost only 15 receptions from last year's squad and return four of five starters on the offensive line."
Feb 1 - 2:16 PM

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay wrote that Penn State DE Carl Nassib "lacks elite speed, [but] he's quick and has very effective hands."

McShay gushed over the 6-foot-6, 273-pounder's frame--no arguments on that front--and noted that Nassib is "a natural finisher as a pass rusher." During the Senior Bowl practice week, an NFC executive voiced the belief that the Nittany Lion walk-on would not be able to play the 5-technique at the pro level due to a perceived lack of leg strength. McShay sees his best NFL fit as a left defensive end. He recorded some silly numbers last season, including 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.
Jan 30 - 5:18 PM

An NFC executive questioned Penn State DE Carl Nassib's ability to ever play the 5-technique.

Because Nassib is a bit taller than 6-foot-6, weighs 273 pounds with more room for growth and has long arms and big hands, some see him as a 5-technique in a 3-4 scheme. Not so fast, says the NFC exec. "Nassib has the look of a guy who can carry 285 (pounds) easily and he's super long, but look at his legs!" he said. "He is never going to have enough strength to play 5-technique no matter how tall or long he is. I think he has to stay around his weight now so he doesn't lose any quickness." Nassib had a sack in every single game last year. Read that sentence again. He finished with 15.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and 19.5 TFL.
Source: NFL.com
Jan 29 - 9:39 AM

Penn State graduate WR Jake Kiley will transfer.

No word as to where Kiley will be playing next season, but it won't be for the Nittany Lions. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder took to Twitter to thank those who helped guide his career, saying that the last four years were "the best of [his] life." Kiley appeared in just two contests during an injury-filled career at Penn.
Jan 28 - 5:51 PM

Penn State redshirt freshman DT Joe Holmes will transfer.

The 5-foot-10, 273-pound defensive tackle arrived in 2014 as a preferred walk-on. He impressed coaches and may have carved out a role in the rotation had Holmes not suffered an ankle that cost him the season in August. Holmes is leaving to find more playing time. "It was a tough decision for me and my family," he said. "Penn State really helped me grow as a man and as a player. I just think I have a better chance to start if I go to the FCS."
Jan 26 - 12:54 PM

Three-star DE Daniel Joseph committed to Penn State in June.

Joseph--No. 80 in the ESPN 300--was also drawing interest from Boston College, Duke and Bowling Green, but called his visit to Happy Valley "great" and ultimately chose to take the plunge with HC James Franklin. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder is the younger brother of Iowa junior DL Faith Ekakite. Scout.com's Beth Long notes that both players share a unique football intelligence, while ESPN's analysis concludes that Joseph "brings good combination of size, athleticism and continued upside to grow into a highly productive defender" before concluding "we feel [he's] a bit of an underrated prospect at this stage."
Source: scout.com
Jan 24 - 3:56 PM

Penn State HC James Franklin said that QB Christian Hackenberg called him the day after he declared for the draft and that the two had "a great conversation."

Said Franklin, "He thanked me and the staff for everything they have done. And we had a great conversation on the phone." When Hackenberg declared for the draft, he thanked a slew of people, including the video coordinator, but left Franklin out of the mix. While it appears to be water under the bridge, the coach did indicate he was relieved to hear from his former 6-foot-4, 212-pound gunslinger. "I think Christian is going to go on and do wonderful things, I'm very, very supportive of that," Franklin said, "But I was glad that Christian picked up the phone and called me the next day."
Source: Penn Live
Jan 23 - 12:36 PM

Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg is training for the draft with Jordan Palmer, brother of Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer.

Palmer--an eight-year NFL backup--has experience training highly drafted quarterbacks. Current Jaguars' QB Blake Bortles similarly worked with him before the Jags selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. He admitted that the 6-foot-4, 212-pound NFL hopeful will have an uphill climb in the draft, at least in some respects. "In my opinion," Palmer said, "Christian will have to straddle the line of taking complete ownership for any of the problems Penn State had on offense and the reality--that he was in a very difficult situation to succeed." Hack figures to be drafted in the first three rounds, a drastic fall considering he drew hype early in his career as a potential No. 1 pick. His progression's been frustrating, to say the least.
Source: CBS Sports
Jan 22 - 7:37 PM

NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt would have advised Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg to return to school.

The No. 1 QB recruit in 2013 played well for current Texans coach Bill O'Brien out of the chute, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Things went downhill after O'Brien left. "Hackenberg never came back around to show anything the last two years under James Franklin, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns as a sophomore and averaging fewer than 200 yards a game in 2015," Brandt wrote. "I'm not saying he would have suddenly turned things around as a senior, but there certainly are a lot of questions surrounding him in this draft. He does have an ally in O'Brien, and the Texans do need a quarterback, so there's that." ESPN's Todd McShay grades he 6-foot-4, 212-pound Hackenberg as a third-rounder. An anonymous NFC scout told NFL.com earlier this month that Hack should be chosen by the end of the Round 3 "at the absolute latest."
Source: NFL.com
Jan 22 - 6:00 PM


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