Penn State spring camp got underway Wednesday and the NFL Draft is just around the corner — so what better time than now to start a mailbag?
Every week, from now on, I plan on answering your questions — which can be sent via email or Twitter — about everything and anything Penn State football.
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Where do you see Chris Godwin landing in the NFL Draft? — Nick, from State College
So there are really two parts to this question: One, what round? And, two, to what team? Godwin is ranked as the fifth-best receiver and No. 50 player overall in the 2017 draft class, according to CBS Sports, and I tend to lean in that early-second round range. Mike Williams (Clemson), Corey Davis (Western Michigan) and John Ross (Washington) will all likely be off the board in the first round, but Godwin could be the next to go. As far as teams, based solely on my idea of fit, there are four clubs that could really use him — the Eagles, Rams, Bengals and Redskins. I would throw the Steelers in there, too, but I don’t think Godwin will be around for them to select at pick No. 62. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, but both might be one-and-done options. The Rams signed Robert Woods and have Tavon Austin, so Jared Goff could use some more help. Cincinnati has A.J. Green and would welcome a complementary outside threat, and Washington lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to Tampa Bay and San Francisco, respectively, leaving the wideout cupboard rather bare for Kirk Cousins or whoever ends up calling plays in DC. All that said, Day 2 of the draft should be an interesting one for Godwin.
If Beaver Stadium is looking to host other events outside of football more frequently, is the university’s policy on selling alcohol in the stadium going to change? — Joe, from State College
Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was actually asked about this at the Facilities Master Plan public forum last week. Barbour said on a “case-by-case” basis they’ll consider selling alcohol at non-Penn State events, like they did at the NHL preseason game at Pegula Ice Arena back in September. So, if Beaver Stadium were to host the Winter Classic or an international friendly in the future, it seems like the opportunity to have a beer or two is there. For a Penn State-Michigan game? Probably not.
What kind of impact do you see walk-on cornerback Jabari Butler having? — Steve, @pensfan22030 on Twitter
Jabari Butler is a compelling piece to the spring practice puzzle. Last week, Penn State strength coach Dwight Galt included Butler in a group of five players that ran in the 4.3-second range in the 40-yard dash. The corner had six interceptions in 2015 at FCS school Abilene Christian but played in only six games as a sophomore last season. At the very least, I’m expecting him to make an impact on special teams; his speed and apparent ball-awareness skills fit the bill for a gunner. Grant Haley, John Reid, Christian Campbell and Amani Oruwariye all return at corner, though, and Lamont Wade will get playing time, too, so it’ll be difficult for Butler to break through on defense.
Let’s talk about the three-game stint in late October/early November: vs. Michigan, at Ohio State, at Michigan State. The tricky spot here is at Michigan State. How much should I be worried about the road trip to East Lansing? — Alex, from Hockessin, Del.
It’s never too early to look ahead to football season, and the Big Ten schedule-makers did Penn State no favors with this stretch. The Nittany Lions do have a bye week before hosting the Wolverines on Oct. 21, which is welcomed, but heading to The Horseshoe right after that? Rough. As for the Spartans, it’s hard to tell what kind of team Michigan State will be after a 3-9 record in 2016. The expectation is that Mark Dantonio, who has never had consecutive losing seasons in 13 years as a head coach, will have the Spartans turned around to some degree. If Penn State is coming off back-to-back wins against Michigan and Ohio State, the trip to East Lansing could be an easy one. Back-to-back losses to the Wolverines and Buckeyes would change matters significantly. No doubt a difficult three-game span for the Nittany Lions — and it should be intriguing to see how it plays out.