How Miles Sanders fared at the NFL Combine
We’re now officially just a few days away from the NFL draft, which takes place April 25-27. So that begs the question for Penn State fans: Where will the Nittany Lions go?
Just like we did last week, we scoured every major and recent NFL mock draft to gauge the hype around each Penn State prospect. Some players were divisive, while others had a clear consensus. One marked difference this final week: Each of Penn State’s seven top prospects had at least one analyst who believed he’d get drafted.
All of the mock drafts included below have been created or updated since April 16. Can Amani Oruwariye sneak into the first round, and will Miles Sanders last longer than two rounds?
Take a look, and keep in mind that some mock drafts also reflect mock trades:
RB Miles Sanders
No. 39 overall (second round) to Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): He writes, “Peyton Barber re-signed for one year, but he isn’t the all-purpose threat that Sanders is, and Ronald Jones disappointed in Year 1. Bruce Arians, who coached David Johnson in Arizona, will be happy to have a versatile back in his offense.”
No. 53 overall (second round) to Philadelphia Eagles (WalterFootball’s Walter Cherepinsky): Cherepinsky writes, “The Eagles traded for Jordan Howard. The former Bear is a tough runner, but he can’t handle the receiving work, so Philadelphia is looking for a running back to complement Howard.”
No. 53 overall (second round) to Philadelphia Eagles (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): According to Campbell, who spoke to two NFL assistant coaches, Sanders was one of three RBs who most impressed at the NFL Combine. Campbell writes, “The Eagles traded for Jordan Howard, but they could use a back who also contributes as a receiver. This could be a long-term three-down starter.”
No. 57 overall (second round) to Philadelphia Eagles (ESPN’s Todd McShay): In this style of mock draft, McShay pretends to be the GM of each team. He writes, “I love this pick. Sanders will make defenders miss and can contribute in the passing game. A Jordan Howard-Sanders duo would be pretty effective for the Birds.”
No. 66 overall (third round) to Pittsburgh Steelers (Draft Diamonds): James Conner is the man in Pittsburgh right now, but Sanders — who also hails from the western part of the state — also has the potential to be a fan favorite. He could help carry the load or at least offer a breather when necessary.
No. 70 overall (third round) to Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Fantasy Pros’ Mike Tagliere): Tagliere writes, “He’s a three-down back who’d work well in Bruce Arians’ offense, though I’m hesitant because I don’t believe they’ve completely moved on from Ronald Jones.”
No. 74 overall (third round) to Buffalo Bills (YardBarker’s Seth Trachtman): Trachtman writes, “Buffalo brought in Frank Gore to pair with LeSean McCoy, but neither would seem to be the long-term answer at running back.”
No. 74 overall (third round) to Buffalo Bills (Draft Site): This could be LeSean McCoy’s final season in Buffalo, and the Bills need another running back to help share the load immediately. Sanders is a natural fit and, like McCoy, could help out in the passing game.
No. 86 overall (third round) to Houston Texans (Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo): The need for RB is clearly here. After addressing offensive line, this wouldn’t be a bad spot at all for Houston to pick up a running back.
No. 87 overall (third round) to Chicago Bears (CBS Sports’ RJ White): Chicago doesn’t have any picks in the first two rounds, thanks to last season’s trade for Khalil Mack, so Sanders would be the Bears’ very first pick in 2019. Writes White: “With their one Day 2 pick, they take advantage of running backs sliding down the board to land a good one in Sanders, who is a much more versatile running mate for Tarik Cohen in the backfield. He has the potential to carry the load if called upon down the road.”
No. 106 overall (fourth round) to Oakland Raiders (Draft Tek): Oakland has a need for running back ... but will Sanders really last this long? Draft Tek doesn’t value runnnig backs very highly in this draft but, for what it’s worth, it does list Sanders as the best-value pick in the fourth round.
CB Amani Oruwariye
No. 29 overall (first round) to Seattle Seahawks (Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo): PFF has consistently been high on Oruwariye. And in Palazzolo’s latest mock draft, which was unveiled Tuesday, he’s not backing down. He writes, “With the Seahawks adding another first-rounder, they get a chance to attack one of their biggest needs in cornerback and Oruwariye is the best fit for them in this range. He has excellent size, movement skills and ball skills, reminiscent of an early-career Aqib Talib who has developed into one of the league’s best corners.”
No. 40 overall (second round) to Buffalo Bills (Fantasy Pros’ Mike Tagliere): The Bills are difficult to predict with all their free-agent signings this offseason, but it’s clear they’ll go for the secondary at some point. Tagliere writes, “Oruwariye has the size NFL teams want, which is why he’s likely going to be picked top-45 of the draft.”
No. 40 overall (second round) to Buffalo Bills (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): Reuter writes, “The Bills hope Kevin Johnson can stay healthy in 2019 but they hedge their bets with Oruwariye, a future outside partner for Tre’Davious White.”
No. 43 overall (second round) to Detroit Lions (Draft Site): Cornerback is arguably the Lions’ biggest need. Teez Tabor could use a challenge, and Oruwariye could be the rookie to provide it.
No. 52 overall (second round) to Pittsburgh Steelers (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): In September, Campbell helped survey NFL scouts on what college prospects impressed them during fall camp — and Oruwariye was one of players mentioned. Campbell writes, “Pittsburgh could use more talent at corner across from Joe Haden.”
No. 65 overall (third round) to Arizona Cardinals (Draft Diamonds): There is a definite need here at cornerback, so Oruwariye could push for time immediately in Arizona.
No. 67 overall (third round) to San Francisco 49ers (YardBarker’s Seth Trachtman): Tracthman writes, “San Francisco needs more cornerback depth, especially with Richard Sherman older and fighting injury last season. Oruwariye is a huge cornerback, and he’s coming off a breakout season with 50 tackles and three interceptions.”
No. 68 overall (third round) to New York Jets (Draft Tek): The Jets have a lot of needs and, although EDGE and offensive line should be the priorities, this seems to be the right place to take a corner. In fact, the Jets might end up leaving the weekend with two drafted corners.
No. 75 overall (third round) to Kansas City Chiefs (CBS Sports’ RJ White): White calls Oruwariye “a big, physical corner” who will “push for a starting role immediately on the outside.”
No. 113 overall (fourth round) to Baltimore Ravens (WalterFootball’s Walter Cherepinsky): Cherepinsky writes, “It doesn’t seem like Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr will be around much longer, so the Ravens will have to add a younger cornerback to their roster.”
OG/OC Connor McGovern
No. 54 overall (second round) to Houston Texans (ESPN’s Mel Kiper): In this style of mock draft, Kiper pretended to be the GM of each team. He writes, “If I’m the GM of this team, I’m thinking about another offensive lineman with one of the next two picks. McGovern is my second-ranked guard.”
No. 54 overall (second round) to Houston Texans (Draft Tek): Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-worst 62 times last year, so offensive line should be a huge priority in this draft. McGovern’s versatility gives the Texans a lot to work with. Writes Draft Tek, “His selection will certainly get the stamp of approval from Deshaun Watson.”
No. 68 overall (third round) to New York Jets (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): Reuter writes, “McGovern can start at center for the Jets in 2019, where he started all season as a sophomore (and once as a junior) for Penn State.”
No. 68 overall (third round) to New York Jets (Fantasy Pros’ Mike Tagliere): Tagliere writes, “He’s an offensive lineman who gives the Jets some versatility, as he’s played guard as well as center in his time at Penn State. He’s a solid run-blocker who can help open some holes for Le’Veon Bell.”
No. 73 overall (third round) to New England Patriots (YardBarker’s Seth Trachtman): Trachtman writes, “The Pats need more interior offensive line depth, and McGovern (not to be confused with the Broncos offensive lineman by the same name) has the versatility to play either guard or center.”
No. 80 overall (third round) to Atlanta Falcons (Draft Diamonds): Atlanta may need more help at tackle than in the interior but, overall, the Falcons could still use an overall better offensive line. After addressing DL earlier in the NFL draft, this seems to be about the right spot at picking up an OL.
No. 81 overall (third round) to Minnesota Vikings (Draft Site): Minnesota’s offensive line was miserable last season, and odds are that at least one starter here this season will be a rookie. Why not McGovern? He’ll certainly have opportunity in Minnesota.
No. 88 overall (third round) to Detroit Lions (CBS Sports’ RJ White): White believes McGovern “could very well start immediately” for Detroit.
No. 127 overall (fourth round) to Philadelphia Eagles (WalterFootball’s Walter Cherepinsky): Cherepinsky writes, “I expect the Eagles to address their interior offensive line early on the third day of the draft.”
No. 161 overall (fifth round) to Houston Texans (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): Although it’s true that some NFL teams wouldn’t take McGovern in the first four rounds, it’s hard to see every team going that route. Still, Campbell writes, “The Texans could use some guard competition.”
EDGE Shareef Miller
No. 102 overall (third round) to Baltimore Ravens (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): The Ravens need depth when it comes to the pass-rush, and Campbell identifies Miller as a potential sleeper. Campbell writes, “He is an intriguing player and has some talent.”
No. 103 overall (fourth round) to Arizona Cardinals (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): Arizona has its priorities elsewhere, but the fourth round seems like a perfect time to take an edge rusher -- after it grabs a QB, a pass-catcher and takes care of the OL.
No. 150 overall (fifth round) to Green Bay Packers (Draft Site): Thanks to some key free-agent pickups, Green Bay doesn’t need to draft an EDGE rusher early in the draft. But it could still use some depth while drafting for value.
No. 157 overall (fifth round) to Baltimore Ravens (CBS Sports’ RJ White): Baltimore seems like a natural fit since it needs help defensively when it comes to the pass-rush. And Miller provides solid value at this point.
No. 160 overall (fifth round) to Baltimore Ravens (Draft Tek): Notice a trend yet? Baltimore is a popular destination for a reason: It needs pass-rushers.
OG Ryan Bates
No. 121 overall (fourth round) to Tennessee Titans (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): Tennessee will take at least one offensive lineman on Day 3, so adding Bates here makes sense.
No. 123 overall (fourth round) to Baltimore Ravens (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): Baltimore needs to build a better offense around QB Lamar Jackson. And, although the priority should be wide receiver, the Ravens should look to add some blocking depth on Day 3 of the NFL draft. That’s where Bates comes in.
No. 124 overall (fourth round) to Seattle Seahawks (Draft Site): Offensive line shouldn’t be a priority on Day 1 or Day 2, but it’s something Seattle should be targeting on Day 3. The Seahawks could use some depth there, and that’s Bates’ likely rookie role anywhere.
Undrafted (Draft Tek): It currently has Bates ranked as No. 307 on its big board.
Undrafted (CBS Sports’ RJ White): The final OL he has being selected is NC State’s Tyler Jones at No. 250 overall.
DT Kevin Givens
No. 158 overall (fifth round) to Buffalo Bills (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): With Kyle Williams retiring at the end of last season, Buffalo could definitely use some depth here. Givens has potential and could earn his way into some situational playing time in 2019 — if everything works out.
No. 246 overall (seventh round) to New England Patriots (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): The Patriots are looking to add some young depth to the defensive line, and Givens certainly fits that bill. Campbell writes, “The Patriots grab a situational pass-rusher to rotate in at defensive tackle.”
Undrafted (Draft Site): The outlet has UCF’s Trysten Hill, a junior, being the final defensive tackle taken in the draft at No. 250 overall.
Undrafted (Draft Tek): Draft Tek lists him as the No. 332 overall prospect on its big board. Only 254 players are drafted.
Undrafted (CBS Sports’ RJ White): The final DT he has being selected in the NFL draft is Texas A&M’s Daylon Mack at No. 220 overall.
QB Trace McSorley
No. 206 overall (sixth round) to Houston Texans (NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): McSorley is a dual-threat QB, and Bill O’Brien has obviously seen him at least a handful of times. This would be a solid situation for McSorley.
Undrafted (WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell): The final QB that Campbell has being drafted is North Dakota State’s Easton Stick at No. 242 overall in the seventh round.
Undrafted (Draft Site): Among the other undrafted QBs this outlet includes are Purdue’s David Blough, Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew.
Undrafted (Draft Tek): It doesn’t have McSorley that far off being drafted, ranking him at No. 301 overall on its big board — just outside the 254 picks who’ll be selected.
Undrafted (CBS Sports’ RJ White): The final QB he has being selected is Central Connecticut State’s Jacob Dolegala at No. 245 overall.