Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, April 15, 2018
James Franklin has been adding a lot of talent since becoming Penn State head coach in 2014, making the Nittany Lions one of the best programs in the Big Ten and nation. So, expect Penn State's draft production to rise very soon.
Anything will be better than last year when Penn State had just one pick: WR Chris Godwin, a third-rounder. The last time the program dipped that low was 2005 when no Nittany Lions were drafted.
This year, Penn State has two likely first-round picks in RB Saquon Barkley and TE Mike Gesicki. Barkley should be a top-five pick, hailed by some as the top running back in the draft class. The program hasn't had a first-round pick since 2010 when DE Jared Odrick was chosen. The last time Penn State had more than one first-round pick was 2003 when the program had four: DT Jimmy Kennedy, DE Michael Haynes, WR Bryant Johnson, and RB Larry Johnson.
The last Nittany Lion running back picked? Evan Royster in 2011. Johnson was the last PSU running back taken in Round One. The last tight end picked was Jesse James in 2015. Kyle Brady was the last Nittany Lion tight end picked in the first round (1995).
There is draft depth beyond Barkley and Gesicki. S Marcus Allen looks like a third-round choice. C Brendan Mahon and WR DaeSean Hamilton look to be in the fourth-fifth-round range. CB Grant Haley and DT Curtis Cothran could be seventh-rounders.
The defense has dominated the last 10 drafts for Penn State, with 19 of the 34 picks being on that side of the ball led by nine defensive linemen.
Here is a look at how Penn State has fared in the last 10 NFL drafts.
PENN STATE DRAFT 2008-17
Highest pick: No. 11 overall, DE Aaron Maybin, 2009/Bills
Most fertile draft: 2010, six selections
Total first-round picks: 2
Total picks: 34
- Defensive line: 9
- Linebacker: 7
- Offensive line: 6
- Defensive back: 3
- Receiver: 3
- Tight end: 3
- Running back: 1
- Quarterback: 1
- Third round: LB Dan Connor, Panthers
- Fourth round: CB Justin King, Rams
- First round: DE Aaron Maybin, Bills
- Third round: WR Derrick Williams, Lions
- Third round: WR Deon Butler, Seahawks
- Fourth round: G Rich Ohrnberger, Patriots
- Seventh round: C A.Q. Shipley, Steelers
- First round: DE Jared Odrick, Dolphins
- Second round: LB Sean Lee, Cowboys
- Third round: LB NaVorro Bowman, 49ers
- Fifth round: TE Andrew Quarless, Packers
- Seventh round: TE Mickey Shuler, Vikings
- Seventh round: LB Josh Hull, Rams
- Second round: G Stefen Wisniewski, Raiders
- Sixth round: RB Evan Royster, Redskins
- Second round: DT Devon Still, Bengals
- Fifth round: G Johnnie Troutman, Chargers
- Fifth round: DE Jack Crawford, Raiders
- Seventh round: LB Nathan Stupar, Raiders
- Third round: DT Jordan Hill, Seahawks
- Fourth round: LB Gerald Hodges, Vikings
- Seventh round: LB Michael Mauti, Vikings
- Second round: WR Allen Robinson, Jaguars
- Fourth round: DT DaQuan Jones, Titans
- Fifth round: G John Urschel, Ravens
- Second round: OT Donovan Smith, Buccaneers
- Fifth round: S Adrian Amos, Bears
- Fifth round: TE Jesse James, Steelers
- Second round: NT Austin Johnson, Titans
- Second round: QB Christian Hackenberg, Jets
- Third round: DE Carl Nassib, Browns
- Sixth round: DT Anthony Zettel, Lions
- Sixth round: S Jordan Lucas, Dolphins
- Third round: WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers