From the moment in early January when Penn State defensive end Garrett Sickels announced he would give up his final season of college eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, Nittany Lion fans and draft experts alike have debated whether he made the right decision.
Sickels initially projected as a late-round pick at best, and did nothing to improve on that at the NFL Combine or Penn State's Pro Day.
As it turned out, Sickels was not drafted at all. That left receiver Chris Godwin, who was taken by Tampa Bay in the third round Friday, as the only Nittany Lion selected.
After the draft, Sickels signed a free agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
While Sickels was a mainstay at defensive end for the Nittany Lions the last three seasons — and posted a team-best 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last fall — he does not appear to have the versatility most NFL teams covet in defensive linemen. At 6-foot-4, 261 pounds, he is not quite big enough to play tackle in any set or end in a 3-4. And he is not quite quick enough to play outside linebacker.
That would seem to limit him to playing end in a 4-3. Interestingly enough, the Colts run a 3-4.
None of which is to say returning to Penn State for his senior season would have been a better option for Sickels. He'll turn 23 in September, so it is fair to wonder how much he could have reshaped his game or his body by spending another year in a college program.
He is much more likely to be able to do that as a full-time football player.
According to various reports, three other former Lions have signed free agent deals to date.
LB Brandon Bell is headed to Cincinnati, S Malik Golden to San Francisco and DE Evan Schwan to the New York Giants.