Penn State Football

Scouts Inc. expert offers NFL draft projections, landing spots for Penn State prospects

Trace McSorley throws in front of NFL scouts at Penn State’s Pro Day

Quarterback Trace McSorely looks to impress NFL scouts at Penn State's Pro Day on March 19.
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Quarterback Trace McSorely looks to impress NFL scouts at Penn State's Pro Day on March 19.

The 2019 NFL draft is upon us — and there are a bevy of former Penn State players waiting to hear their names called.

No Nittany Lion is expected to go in Thursday’s first round, even though running back Miles Sanders and cornerback Amani Oruwariye have an outside shot at sneaking in the top 32. But it’s likely a few Penn State names pop up on Day 2 and then the rest on Day 3.

We spoke to Scouts Inc. expert Steve Muench — who, alongside Todd McShay, watches tape and grades every prospect in the draft pool — for his take on the draftable Nittany Lions. He did not include safety Nick Scott, wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins or linebacker Koa Farmer in that category. But he did delve into round projections and possible landing spots for seven Penn State prospects.

RB Miles Sanders

Projection: Late 2nd round

Possible landing spots: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills

Breakdown: “What he’s done has been so steady throughout the process. When other guys have faltered, he’s risen. ... I do think he’s a guy who’ll be pretty successful at the NFL level. In Minnesota, you’d be looking at a talented backup for Dalvin Cook and, with his injury concerns, that could be an interesting one. Baltimore is interesting just because of what they want to do (running the ball with Lamar Jackson). In Buffalo, they have Frank Gore and Shady McCoy, but obviously Gore is on the back nine. But are they going to pull the trigger on Sanders at No. 40 overall? That’s kind of where we have him. He’s in that range. It’s not crazy. But the Bills have more pressing needs.”

CB Amani Oruwariye

Projection: 3rd round

Possible landing spots: Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

Breakdown: “I think he’ll be a better fit in zone than he will in man. He tested well. In terms of his change-of-direction, he tested very well for a taller corner. So that’s encouraging. But he’s better in zone. He’s better with discipline. He’s better with positioning. That’s where he’s at his best. So we’ll see if a team that plays a man-heavy scheme takes a chance on him based on how well he tested. ... When you look at what Matt Patricia does, Detroit is an interesting one. Patricia would make the most of what he does well.”

OC/OG Connor McGovern

Projection: 3rd / 4th round

Possible landing spots: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons

Breakdown: “We do think he’s a better fit at guard than center, but he can play both positions. It is a very good interior line draft class, so that might be pushing him down. ... In Arizona, A.Q. Shipley is coming off a torn ACL, and they’re a mess at guard. A lot of injuries. They had five different starters at right guard, four different starters at left guard last season. And Atlanta, very similar situation. Denver, center Matt Paradis left, and they need someone to compete at right guard. So Denver would be a really good place to start.”

EDGE Shareef Miller

Projection: 4th round

Possible landing spots: Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks

Breakdown: “We have him in the fourth round, but I think he goes Day 2. That 40 time is going to help him; 4.69 is pretty good. And then he’s long. He’s light and gets pushed around a bit on tape, and I don’t think he plays as fast as he ran. But he plays hard. He chases. He gets to the quarterback with effort, which is kind of underrated. ... With Seattle, because of what they do — they play that 4-3 under which is kind of a hybrid 4-3/3-4 front — you could play Miller on the weakside. And then when they go to their three-man fronts, he could pop off to a 3-4 outside linebacker. That’s an interesting one.”

OL Ryan Bates

Projection: Day 3

Possible landing spots: Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles

Breakdown: “He’s probably going to have to kick inside. We don’t see him as a guy who’s ever going to be a starter. His Ohio State film is tough; not a good look for him. That’s where his lack of length and real power in his punch shows up. But he’s got the build to move inside if someone wants to try it. He plays with solid balance. He gets set quickly. ... He’s going to be a backup guard who, in an emergency, you could play at right tackle. ... Kansas City’s looking to add depth. That’s a scheme I think he would be good in.”

DT Kevin Givens

Projection: Late 5th round

Possible landing spot: Dallas Cowboys

Breakdown: “I don’t think he can play outside. And I don’t think he can play nose, whether it’s a 3-4 or a 4-3. He is strictly a three-technique, four-man front. That guy who is super disruptive. But he can be really good in that role. It’s almost underrated. In Dallas, he could line up as that three-technique and get after it and be super disruptive. ... You just turn him loose. Let him win with his quickness, with his active hands. And I love his motor. He runs down guys. He’s athletic, fast and quick. The reason why he’s not higher is the positional versatility isn’t really there. ... But if you’re the right team, that’s going to pay off for you.”

QB Trace McSorley

Projection: 6th round

Possible landing spots: New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

Breakdown: “We think he gets drafted. There’s things to really like about him. His mental makeup, his pocket mobility. But he’s a smaller guy with below-averaged arm strength. That’s going to be tough to overcome. ... (Patriots head coach Bill) Belichick would really value some of the things McSorley brings to the table, most notably his competitiveness and his football intelligence. And then you think of what he did with Julian Edelman, moving him to wide receiver. Maybe he thinks McSorley’s just a really good football player that he can find a role for. That’s one to keep in mind.”

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