Former Penn State offensive lineman Brendan Mahon waited to hear his name called in the 2018 NFL draft for seven rounds and 256 picks. It never came.
But, against the odds, the Nittany Lions’ four-year starter is already making a name for himself after signing with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent.
According to a report from the Charlotte Observer’s Jourdan Rodrigue, Mahon is taking reps with both the first and second teams at left guard.. He’s been one of the biggest surprises of the Panthers’ training camp so far.
Granted, veteran Amini Silatolu is still getting most of those first-team reps, per Rodrigue. But the fact Mahon is competing already after watching 38 other offensive linemen get drafted is an incredibly rare feat.
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“He’s an interesting young man,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera told Rodrigue. “He’s bright. He’s physical. He’s got a good set of tools. Of the young guys, he has stepped up so far. You have to find those young guys early and make sure they’re getting a little extra. Whatever it takes to help those guys along. Because guys like that can help you. And he’s done a nice job so far.”
Mahon told the Charlotte Observer he’s working hard to make sure Rivera’s job of choosing the starter isn’t an easy one.
“I’m trying to take advantage of my opportunity and really hone in on my skills,” Mahon said. “The thing that’s getting me going is that my back is against the wall. I don’t have some of the luxuries that the drafted guys do. I come out here every day and work hard, and try to be successful, put the pedal to the metal and play hard-nose football.”