The 2010 NFL draft saw six Nittany Lions drafted across seven rounds. From Jared Odrick to Sean "Too Intense" Lee, it was a remarkably talented defensive class that carried the blue and white to their 11-2 record and the Capital One Bowl victory.
Now, with the offense as the focus for the first time in a long time, and the possibility of a true freshman under center, it'll be interesting to see what Penn State's 2011 draft class looks like.
Could Robert Bolden's learning curve cause Derek Moye to leave early? If the offensive line struggles will Evan Royster's prospects decline?
With less than two weeks until opening weekend, it's time for the fans to start buying tickets, jerseys, and face-paint. And with eight months until April, it's not a second too soon to cannonball into the mock draft deep end with Penn State's top five draft talents.
While you always assume every athlete will play out their allotted four years, we've come to grips with that simply not being the case. As much as players are proud of wearing the blue and white, the lure of the big pay day is often too much to overcome.
Is that the case for Moye? We don't know. But if his quarterback struggles, and he continues to improve, it might be in his best interest to bolt.
Moye has impressive size at 6'5", though he could stand to add some weight at just 198. He doesn't have the breakaway speed to be a dominant No. 1 option, but we've seen other monster Penn State wideouts have successful careers with underwhelming 40 times (Joe Jurevicius, anyone?).
Derek finished last year with a fairly impressive 48 catches for 785 yards (16.4 YPC) and six TDs.
His combine will likely determine whether he's a first day guy or a second day guy. Oh wait, the NFL is crazy, so second or third day guy.
That's Ollie on the right. He's part of the duo of most-awesomely named defensive Nittany Lions, along with linebacker Bani Gbadyu.
Though Ollie might seem like a tremendous human being by our mortal standards, at 6'1" and 285, he's actually quite undersized compared to the demigods in the NFL.
He had a productive season last year, despite his size, racking up eight tackles for loss and two sacks, but it will be his combine numbers and his willingness and ability to transition to end that determines his professional worth.
That grown--s man wearing No. 61 is Stefen Wisniewski. He checks in at 6'3", 306 pounds.
After a stellar season which saw him named to the All-Big Ten First team, Walterfootball.com lists him as the third-best center prospect in college football.
He's a sure shot to be drafted in the first or second round, as talented centers are as plentiful as money tree seeds.
Stefen also excels at guard, increasing his versatility and value.
Evan Royster spent 2009 racking up 1,169 yards (5.7 YPC) and six touchdowns. He also registered 16 receptions for 187 yards.
So it's more than just the colors and numbers on his jersey that make people reminisce about Emmitt Smith.
Many mock drafters and scouts have Royster as the Lions third-best prospect—not me. I had a hard time not listing him first.
What he lacks in pure speed he makes up for with intelligence, shiftiness, and an eye for running lanes. I mean at times he seems untackleable.
And we've all seen what pure speed by its lonesome adds up to, right Darren McFadden?
Barring an invitation to the Heisman ceremonies (don't we wish), Royster will probably end up going mid-second or third round, making him a perfect candidate for steal of the draft.
One guy who won't be a steal is Jack Crawford. And that's not for a lack of talent. Crawford is potentially a top-25 pick.
At 6'5", 256 pounds, Crawford is the ideal size for a 3-4 DE/OLB hybrid. In 2009, he gathered 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, filling in nicely for now-Bills linebacker Aaron Maybin.
Walterfootball.com has Crawford as the seventh-best defensive end and second-best 3-4 outside backer. Plus, Jack Crawford just sounds like a punishing, fear-inducing defender from the sixties.
Come on Jets fans, wouldn't you love this guy running next to Calvin Pace, David Harris, and Bart Scott?