There were few mentions of Penn State players on the preseason award watch lists, but does that mean there are not players worthy of discussing as potential NFL draft prospects? Not necessarily.
Because it is never too early to think about the future, here is a look at five players who can be considered NFL draft prospects this season for Penn State. We'll add to this list soon with feedback from an NFL Draft analyst and more.
Feel free to add your own suggestions to the list as well by leaving a comment below.
Derek Moye, Wide Receiver
Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye returns in 2011 after leading the Nittany Lions in receiving in 2010. Named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list for the 2011 season, Moye will benefit from a possibly improved quarterback situation from 2010 with more experience at the position regardless of whether it is Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin.
Moye led the team in receiving each of the past two seasons and is Penn State's top big-play target in the passing game entering 2011.
Moye has a chance to be drafted, although he currently has the look of a late-round draft pick entering this upcoming season. Moye could have gone to the NFL Draft this past spring but decided to return for his final year of eligibility in 2011.
"In my opinion, I haven't had a season to even think about going out," Moye said in a report by The Patriot News last November. "Especially with this year's receiving class. It's pretty deep."
Devon Still, Defensive Tackle
One of the more stable players on the defensive line, Devon Still looks to build off of 2010 by becoming one of the top defensive tackles in the Big Ten. Still brings decent size to the table and he has a strength blocking the run and he can be utilized in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defensive scheme.
His reaction to the ball being snapped is solid but he needs to record more tackles if scouts are going to view Still as an early-round prospect. As it stands now, Still looks to be a solid mid-round pick-up for any team looking to beef up in the middle of the defensive line.
D'Anton Lynn, Cornerback
D'Anton Lynn passed on taking an NFL Draft evaluation test prior to deciding to return for his final season at Penn State. Having a father who is an NFL coach certainly gives Lynn an extra expert opinion when it came to making that decision. Anthony Lynn is a running backs coach for the New York Jets. For Lynn, it was never an option to go pro in 2011 but it never hurts to find out where you stand moving forward.
Lynn makes up part of the top secondary in the Big Ten and shows above average ability at the position and at 6'0" he may be able to measure up enough with some of the receivers in the NFL. Depending on what teams are looking for a cornerback, Lynn could go as early as the third round or the sixth round. With teams loading up on offense though the need for cornerbacks is rising in the league, which plays in Lynn's favor.
Johnnie Troutman, Offensive Guard
Penn State's offensive line has been a bit maligned over the past couple years but it has not been without talent. Stefen Wisniewski was picked up by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft and Johnnie Troutman could find his name called in the 2012 NFL Draft with one more solid season in State College.
The 326 pound guard has been stable on the line as a consistent starter and should once again be one of the main cogs in the trenches in 2011, which will boost his overall profile if he limits damage done by opposing defenders.
Michael Mauti, Linebacker
Michael Mauti is a redshirt junior so there is a possibility he will be back in State College next fall, but a good season could influence his decision to go pro if he feels he has a shot at being drafted. Linebackers typically do not leave Penn State early though and Mauti may have some work to do to convince scouts and teams that he is not a health risk (he sat out the 2009 season with a medical redshirt).
Mauti will be placed in the middle of the defense this season as Penn State's middle linebacker, and that in itself puts him in some nice company. A lineage of NFL draft picks at the position with guys like Paul Posluszny, Sean Lee and Dan Connor will give Mauti something to shoot for this upcoming season.