2014 NFL Draft Recap: PSU Perspective

A recap and analysis for the 2014 event with a focus on the former Nittany Lions involved.

Some quick hitters from the 2014 NFL Draft that should be of interest to Penn State fans:

• WR Allen Robinson, considered by some experts to be a possible first-round talent, fell deep into the second round. He went 61st overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who took USC WR Marqise Lee earlier in the round.

The two-time Big Ten Receiver of the Year, Robinson was the 11th wideout picked in the draft.

Some of the slip was attributed to the fact that he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. But was anything else in play?

Remember, Robinson was suspended for the first half of the 2013 season-opener against Syracuse for an unspecified violation of team rules. He reportedly was involved in a serious fight with a teammate at practice.

In a draft where so many outstanding wideouts were so close in terms of level of talent, that sort of misstep may well have proved costly for a player with an otherwise stellar resume.

That said, Robinson found a good landing spot in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are obviously committed to their passing game, having spent the third overall pick on UCF QB Blake Bortles, then the next two picks on Lee and Robinson.

• For only the second time since Joe Paterno took over the program in 1966, Penn State has now gone four straight drafts with no first-round picks. The previous such streak was 1975-78.

Looking ahead to the 2015 draft, it sure seems like the streak is likely to hit five years.

• DT DaQuan Jones also went later than many experts predicted. ESPN had him rated as the seventh-best player at his position and the 78th-best prospect overall.

He fell into the fourth round (to Tennessee), where he was the 12th DT picked and the 112th selection overall.

Jones was surely hurt by a very slow 40 time at the Combine (5.35 seconds), which probably scared off teams that run 3-4 defenses because he does not have the speed to play end in those systems. But Titans' defensive coordinator Ray Horton is known for running the 3-4 and 4-3, which means there are more spots where Jones could fit.

• OG John Urschel ended up going to the Baltimore Ravens with the 35th pick of the fifth round. He was the only offensive lineman selected by the Ravens.

That's the good news. The bad news -- for Penn State fans -- is that Urschel might find himself competing for playing time (or even a roster spot) with another beloved former Nittany Lion.

Urschel might find himself competing for playing time (or even a roster spot) with another beloved former Nittany Lion.

A.Q. Shipley played in all 16 games for the Ravens last season, starting nine. Shipley is a guard who has the versatility to play center, and after six years in the league is still “fightin n clawing,” according to a recent tweet.

• Penn State fans hoping former Lion coach and current Houston Texans' leader Bill O'Brien would give his former PSU players some love in the draft were mistaken.

The Texans had 10 picks in the draft, including five in the last two rounds, but took nary a Penn State product. In fairness, Houston's needs did not mesh very well with the better Nittany Lions available. And the offensive guard (Xavier Su'a-Filo of UCLA) and defensive tackle (Louis Nix III of Notre Dame) the Texans picked were rated much higher than Urschel and Jones, respectively.

Houston had the final pick of the draft -- the so-called Mr. Irrelevant -- and O'Brien probably did the remaining undrafted Lions (particularly LB Glenn Carson) a favor by not selecting any of them. This way they can pick the undrafted-free-agent destination of their choice.

As of this writing, the Texans had not signed any of the Penn State undrafted free agent.

• Speaking of undrafted free agents, it is kind of difficult to believe how far former Lion RB Silas Redd has fallen since he left Penn State for USC after PSU was hit with NCAA sanctions. Heading into the 2012 campaign, Redd was considered a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

Two injury-filled, unproductive seasons later, he was not among the 19 RBs taken in the draft. RBs from Towson, Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina were taken.

According to ESPN.com, when the draft ended, Redd was the seventh-best RB left on the board. Ouch. He ended up signing a free agent deal with the Washington Redskins (who picked Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk in the sixth round).

From the what-goes-around-comes-around department, when the NCAA sanctions hit in July of 2012, O'Brien had a conversation with Redd. According to O'Brien, Redd told him he was staying, which of course did not turn out to be the case.

Gas was thrown on the fire shortly thereafter during a national radio interview, as then-Trojans' coach Lane Kiffin laughed about luring Redd away from Penn State.

Kiffin was canned during the 2013 season. Redd's career has unraveled.

And O'Brien, who has serious connections around the NFL, has officially gotten the last laugh.

• As for the other 2014 draft-eligible players who left Penn State when the sanctions hit…

LB Khairi Fortt decided to leave Cal after his redshirt junior season, even though he was limited by injuries last fall. But a strong combine performance obviously turned some heads. Fortt was taken by the New Orleans Saints with the 26th pick of the fourth round. He was the 11th OLB selected.

K/P Anthony Fera, an All-American at Texas last season, was not selected in the draft. However, only two kickers were, and both went in the seventh round (Arkansas' Zach Hooker and Boston College's Nate Freese). Fera tweeted that he signed a free-agent deal with the Miami Dolphins.

• The decision of PSU OT Garry Gilliam not to return for his final season of eligibility continues to look like a bad move. Gilliam is the former TE who shifted to OT last season after struggling with injuries earlier in his career.

He started only four games and platooned for most of the season.

Gilliam is a great physical specimen. He measured in at 6-foot-6, 306 pounds at Penn State's Pro Day, and said he ran a sub-5.0 40.

But people in the know said his technique last season was poor, and that he would have benefitted greatly from one more year of playing tackle at the college level.

Since 6-6, 306-pound tackles who run sub-4.5 40s are extremely rare -- and we have no reason to believe Gilliam was embellishing his size or speed -- we can only assume his film turned off anyone willing to spend a draft pick on a raw tackle. Twenty-two tackles were taken in the draft, including players from North Dakota State, Furman, Portland State, Georgia State and McGill (in Montréal).

Gilliam signed a free-agent deal with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks drafted two other tackles -- Missouri's Justin Britt (second round) and Marshall's Garrett Scott (sixth round).

• Carson signed a free-agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals. OT Adam Gress landed a tryout with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. DB Malcolm Willis reportedly has a tryout set with the San Diego Chargers.

Fight On State Top Stories