2011 NFL Draft: Penn State Stefen Wisniewski Looks to Continue Family Legacy

Kevin McGuireAnalyst IIApril 13, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 22:  Deon Butler #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates his touchdown with Graham Zug #5 and Stefen Wisniewski #61 against the Michigan State Spartans on November 22, 2008 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State won the game 49-18. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Penn State offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski is one of the best linemen to come out of Penn State in a long time, and the scouts seem to love his chances of continuing to carry the family banner in the NFL.

His uncle, Steve Wisniewski, was an all-pro lineman in the NFL and many seem to expect Stephen to have the potential to have a similar career.

Wisniewski is ranked as the second top center by the National Football Post. Wisniewski is slightly smaller than Florida's Mike Pouncey and Missouri's Tim Barnes.

What Wisniewski lacks in size, not that 6'3" and 306 pounds is small, he more than makes up for in technique, which is exactly why scouts love Wisniewski.

Stefen Wisniewski Profile

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 305 lbs

Awards and Recognition

AFCA All-American (2010), Academic All-American (2008, 2009, 2010), First Team All-Big Ten (2009, 2010), National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete (2010)

There is not much not to like about Wisniewski from a pro standpoint. By most accounts, he is one of the most NFL-ready linemen to come out of Penn State in a long time, and it is warranted hype.

Off the snap, Wisniewski shows great ball awareness and is quick to react to the pressure. His mobility and athleticism puts Wisniewski far above the other offensive linemen in this year's NFL Draft pool.

Wisniewski has played both the guard and center positions and he has started every game the past two seasons for Penn State and started 12 games for the Nittany Lions in 2008.

What really makes him an attractive prospect is his flexibility on the line. Since breaking in to the Penn State offensive line Wisniewski has split time at center and guard, earning high accolades along the way with All-American and all-Big Ten honors.

Though few, his weaknesses can be worked on with proper coaching, and his good track record for a healthy work ethic suggests he will learn and adapt to the pro game rather quickly. Scouts comment that Wisniewski is not the most physical blocker and he could benefit from getting stronger, but his technique and form more than make up for his few shortcomings.

Scouts have been paying close attention to Wisniewski's performance in the speed and strength drills at the NFL Scouting Combine and Penn State's Pro Day. Wisniewski may not be the most impressive performer in the combine, but even an average showing may not harm his draft stock too much.

But don't expect Wisniewski to slump through the next few days. He is a motivated individual and has been preparing for this all offseason.

Being left out of the Senior Bowl and the East West Shrine Game has only given Wisniewski more time to focus on the combine, so expect that he has concentrated on that for the past month and look for him to be more than prepared.

When Will He Be Drafted?

There is little doubt that Wisniewski is going to have a relatively short wait before hearing his name called at Radio City Music Hall.

Just about every mock draft and draft analyst believes Wisniewski will be gone before the end of the second round, and some have him being drafted in the first round.

Penn State NFL Draft History - Centers

Penn State is not known for producing big time centers in the NFL, but you do not have to go far back to find a notable center drafted in the NFL Draft.

Wisniewski's predecessor at center, A.Q. Shipley, was drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 2008 Rimington Trophy winner did not last long in Pittsburgh though before being waived after his first training camp. Shipley has since signed on with the Philadelphia Eagles and recently was re-signed to a future contract after serving on the practice squad.

Wisniewski is expected to have a better pro career though and his family bloodline may be an advantage for him in this year's draft.

NFL teams love picking up a descendant of a former standout player and his uncle was one of the best.

Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Examiner.com. Follow his college football discussion on Twitter   @CFBExaminer.