It is finally NFL Draft week, as the top collegiate players are set to hear their names called in Cleveland beginning Thursday.
The 2021 draft features plenty of talent, and both Penn State and the Big Ten will be well represented.
After five selections last year, Penn State should be able to at least match that this weekend with two prospects potentially going in the first round.
With that, here’s where our staff expects the former Nittany Lions to land.
Micah Parsons, LB
Max Ralph: No. 10 overall (Round 1) to the Dallas Cowboys
Alexis Yoder: No. 11 overall (Round 1) to the New York Giants
Seth Engle: No. 9 overall (Round 1) to the Denver Broncos
Justin Morganstein: No. 11 overall to the New York Giants
After deciding to opt out of his final college season, the perspective on Micah Parsons has not changed much.
He is far and away the most talented linebacker in this draft and is expected to make an immediate impact for the team that selects him in the first round.
Parsons’ combination of athleticism, size and speed make him an incredibly intriguing linebacker prospect whose versatility can be utilized in any defensive sub-package.
He is set to become the first Penn State first-round pick since Saquon Barkley in 2018.
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Jayson Oweh, EDGE
Max Ralph: No. 28 overall (Round 1) to the New Orleans Saints
Alexis Yoder: No. 30 overall (Round 1) to the Buffalo Bills
Seth Engle: No. 28 overall (Round 1) to the New Orleans Saints
Justin Morganstein: No. 21 overall (Round 1) to the Indianapolis Colts
Jayson Oweh is someone who has shot up on many experts’ draft boards following his impressive pro day performance last month.
His otherworldly 4.36 40-yard dash was better than the likes of former Nittany Lions Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders.
But what some scouts have an issue with is the lack of production in his final college season, as he did not record a sack in his nine games played in 2020.
Still, talent evaluators are banking on the development and raw ability when it comes to Oweh, which makes him a good bet to also go in the first round.
Pat Freiermuth, TE
Max Ralph: No. 46 overall (Round 2) to the New England Patriots
Alexis Yoder: No. 44 overall (Round 2) to the Dallas Cowboys
Seth Engle: No. 33 overall (Round 2) to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Morganstein: No. 39 overall (Round 2) to the Carolina Panthers
Pat Freiermuth is the next Penn State tight end in line to be selected in the NFL draft.
Despite being injured for over half of his final season, Freiermuth set the Nittany Lions’ career touchdown record for a tight end with 16 in 26 career starts.
He passed the last tight end to be selected out of Happy Valley, Mike Gesicki, who was taken by the Miami Dolphins in the second round in 2018.
Despite some similarities, Freiermuth appears to be the more complete prospect with his dynamic combination of receiving and blocking skills.
His use on third downs and in the red zone was crucial during his time in college, but there may be concern teams have over his lingering right shoulder injury, which he had surgery on in the middle of last year.
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Shaka Toney, EDGE
Max Ralph: No. 191 (Round 6) overall to the Denver Broncos
Alexis Yoder: No. 200 (Round 6) overall to the Las Vegas Raiders
Seth Engle: No. 161 (Round 5) overall to the Arizona Cardinals
Justin Morganstein: No. 172 (Round 5) overall to the Baltimore Ravens
When it comes to physical traits, Shaka Toney may not have the speed and athleticism of some other pass rushers in this draft.
But what Toney can provide is everything else for a team, including leadership, football IQ and toughness.
His coaches can’t speak highly enough of the Philadelphia native, and he would bring internal competition to any team that chooses to draft him.
Depending on where he falls, Toney could be a valuable Day 3 pick that has the potential to outplay his current projection if he can get in the right scheme.
Michal Menet, IOL
Max Ralph: No. 254 (Round 7) overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Alexis Yoder: No. 250 (Round 7) overall to the Seattle Seahawks
Seth Engle: No. 252 (Round 7) overall to the Los Angeles Rams
Justin Morganstein: No. 242 (Round 7) overall to the Los Angeles Chargers
At 6-foot-4 with five years of college experience, Menet has the intangibles to be an interior offensive lineman at the next level.
But despite playing center at Penn State, he will likely move to guard due to his lack of athleticism at the line of scrimmage.
He played guard in high school and was one of the top recruits at that position coming into college, so it won’t be something new to the 23-year-old.
The only thing teams may fear is Menet’s development has already come full circle, and there may not be much room for growth moving forward.