Penn State NFL Draft Primer

An overview of what Nittany Lion fans need to know to follow the event kicks off our draft week coverage.

Spring practice may be behind us, but there is always something cooking on the football front. For college and pro fans, the focus has now turned to this week's NFL Draft.

For Penn State backers, well, there is excitement about the event, as the program could see its most former players taken in a single draft in half a decade. But you are probably going to have to exercise some patience -- as in waiting more than a day -- before finally seeing the Nittany Lions begin to come off the board.

We kick off our draft week coverage with a general overview of the event, so you can game plan on when to watch. There are some significant changes from drafts of the recent past, including the location, so be sure to give this entire story the once-over.


We'll have more of a breakdown on these players as the week goes along, including video interviews. But for now, the following former Penn State players appear to have the best chance of being drafted. They are listed in alphabetical order, with early entrees noted with asterisks.

DB Adrian Amos, DE Deion Barnes*, LB Mike Hull, TE Jesse James* (shown above), OT Donovan Smith*.

The following former Lions are hoping to hear their names called this weekend but are more likely to be undrafted free agents:

RB Bill Belton, OG/C Miles Dieffenbach, K Sam Ficken, TE Matt Lehman, DE C.J. Olaniyan, DT Tyrone Smith.


If you thought New York, think again. The NFL has moved the draft to Chicago this year, specifically to the 4,000-seat Auditorium Theatre. It is the first time since 1964 the draft has been held in the Windy City. The draft had been held in New York every year since then, including the last nine at Radio City Music Hall. Scheduling issues with Radio City Music Hall prompted the NFL to move the event.


Thursday, 8 p.m. (Round One)

Friday, 7 p.m. (Rounds Two & Three)

Saturday, Noon (Rounds Four Through Seven)

NOTES: If you are only concerned about following the former Lions in the draft, you may want to wait until Friday to tune in. Though Donovan Smith will be in Chicago for the draft, he is generally considered a third-round talent, at best. Amos and possibly James appear to have chances of being drafted Friday. But Saturday should be a busier day for the Penn Staters.


All rounds will be carried live on the NFL Network. Former Nittany Lion stars LaVar Arrington and Michael Robinson will be part of the network's coverage team. Penn State graduate Kimberly Jones will report from the New York Jets' facility.

ESPN will also carry the first round of the draft. ESPN2 will carry the remainder of the draft.


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will announce first round selections. Former players from the respective teams will announce the selections in rounds two and three. Later round selections will be announced from team facilities and from other locations in the home cities of the respective teams.


• Penn State has not had more than four players taken in a single draft since six were selected in 2010. The Lions have had an average of three players taken in the last four drafts.

• Trivia Question: Penn State has had a total of 10 players taken in the last three drafts. Of that group, who made the most starts in 2014? The answer later.

• Penn State has not had a player taken in the first round since 2010 (DT Jared Odrick).

• Since 1966, PSU has never gone more than four straight years without a first-round pick, and that only happened twice (1975-78, 2011-14). The current drought will likely stretch to five years with this draft.

• Penn State has not had a skill player taken in the first round of the draft since WR Bryant Johnson and RB Larry Johnson in 2003. In fact, since 2003, the only Lion skill player to be taken before the third round was WR Allen Robinson last year.

• Penn State has never had a defensive back taken in the first round. Other than specialists, that's the only position where the Lions have never had a first-rounder.

• Only one current NFL team has never drafted a Penn State product. Ironically enough, it is the Houston Texans, who are now led by former Lion coach Bill O'Brien.

• Trivia Answer: OL Johnnie Troutman, a fifth-round pick in 2012, started all 15 games he played for the San Diego Chargers last season. The nine other former Lions from the last three drafts combined to start 19 games: WR Allen Robinson, Jacksonville, 8; LB Gerald Hodges, Minnesota, 7; OL John Urschel, Baltimore, 3; DT DaQuan Jones, Tennessee, 1; LB Michael Mauti, Minnesota, 0; DT Jordan Hill, Seattle, 0; DT Devon Still, Cincinnati, 0; DE Jack Crawford, Dallas, 0; LB Nate Stupar, Atlanta, 0.

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