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NFL Prospect Focus: Penn State

A look at Penn State's prospects versus Eastern Michigan Greg Gabriel

Print This September 08, 2013, 01:00 PM EST

Penn State struggled with Eastern Michigan early but then put together a very strong second half to beat whip Eastern 45-7. Penn State does not have their usual high number of NFL prospects in this year’s senior class. From my early look it looks as if they have 3 seniors that are draftable. They would be defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, linebacker Glenn Carson and offensive guard John Urschel. They also have a junior wide receiver who many believe will also enter the draft next spring. That would be Allen Robinson who has started the season with 2 strong games. Robinson and Jones have the talent to be premium picks.

DaQuan Jones – Defensive Tackle

Jones is a 4th year senior and a 2 year starter at defensive tackle. In the first two games this year he has 18 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. In the game versus Eastern Michigan Jones I had Jones for 9 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Jones has good size for a defensive tackle. At about 6’3 – 304. He usually lines up in a 1 or 2 technique but will be at the 3 technique on some downs. He is not an explosive, flashy athlete but rather a good blue collar type who plays hard every down. He has good overall athleticism with balance, quickness and good change of direction. He doesn’t have great speed, I would estimate his play speed at 5.15 – 5.20. He has good snap reaction and good initial quickness. He is quick to react with good instincts. He is around the ball. He shows strength and power at the point of attack and can get rid of blocks fairly quickly. He plays with bend and you don’t see him get knocked off the ball. He can handle a double team block. He makes a number of tackles because he is around the ball and can get rid of blocks. He is not flashy as a pass rusher, showing more bull rush than moves. He will flash a counter move but that is not his game. He has an adequate burst to the quarterback. 

Overall, Jones doesn’t jump out at you but you look at the stat sheet and you see he has made a number of plays. He should be able to play in either a 3 or 4 man front, but may be best suited to play in a 4 man. In a 3 man front I see him at 4 or 5 technique. Would need to add bulk to play on the nose. At this time I see his ceiling as a 2nd round pick but will probably end up going in the 3rd. Interesting guy to look to upgrade later in the season.

Allen Robinson – Wide Receiver

Like Jones, Robinson has started the 2013 season very well. In 2 games he has 14 catches for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Allen RobinsonUSPRESSWIRERobinson has the natural traits to be a very good NFL receiver

Jones is a 3rd year junior from Southfield, Michigan. He played as a reserve in 2011 and became a starter in 2012. As a sophomore he caught 77 passes for 1013 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has excellent size at about 6’2 – 210. He has very good play speed and I would estimate he can run the 40 in about 4.48. He is a very smooth athlete with quickness, a burst and very good body control. He has a way of making things look easy. Penn State is playing with a true freshman quarterback and because of that you don’t see Robinson run a number of different routes. He is used most often on bubble screens but I have also seen him used on outs, crossing routes and streaks. With his change of direction and body control he can make a sharp cut and get separation. Once the ball is in the air he has a good burst to go get it. He has very good hands and can snatch the ball. He shows real good ability to adjust to the ball. As a runner he is quick, smooth and elusive. He has strength as a runner and can break tackles. 

Overall, Robinson has the natural traits to be a very good NFL receiver. I like his size, speed, hands and athleticism. Even though he is playing with a freshman quarterback he has top production. If he decides to come out he has a chance to be a high premium round pick

John Urschel – Guard

Urschel is a 5th year senior and a 3 year starter at right guard. He has adequate size at about 6’2 ½ - 302. He has adequate athleticism with good balance. I would not call him an overpowering player. He has adequate strength and power. His best traits are he stays on his feet and plays hard every down. He has good snap reaction and initial quickness but is not explosive on contact. He will consistently work to finish.

While he will work to get movement he can get stalemated at times but he won’t get knocked back. He does a good job with angle blocks and takes good angles to the 2nd level. I did not see him used on pulls. In pass protection he can set quickly and use his hands. He gets his hands out on his opponent very quickly and can keep them inside. He plays with bend and shows adequate anchor. He is not the most quick footed guy and can lose his man to a quick change of direction. He gave up a sack in the 3rd quarter when this happened. Overall, I see Urschel as a C level type player (rounds 5-7). His best chance to contribute early at the next level would be to learn the center position and be able to play both center and guard. He has a center’s type of body and that may eventually be his best position in the NFL.

Glenn Carson – Linebacker

Carson is a 4th year senior and a 3 year starter and has already graduated. Like DaQuan Jones he is not an explosive flashy player, all he does is make plays. In the first 2 games he has 16 total tackles including 10 versus Eastern Michigan.

Carson has adequate size at 6’3 – 235. He looks to have a frame to be able to play at 240+ at the next level. He has good athleticism and adequate speed. His play speed is about 4.78. His change of direction is good and he has good feet allowing him to move through traffic without a problem.

One of the best traits that Carson has is his instincts. He is a quick reactor or is consistently around the ball. He doesn’t get fooled. He has good strength at the point and does a good job getting rid of blocks. He shows he can take on a guard, get rid of him and get to the ball. While not an overly fast guy, he is quick and because of his instincts he makes plays inside and out. He always takes good angles to the ball. In pass coverage, he has a quick drop and keeps good position in zone. He can move in transition and reacts well to the ball in the air. I did not see him in man coverage. He is used some on blitzes and comes hard but I didn’t see him use any moves.

Overall, this is a steady consistent player who will be a starter at the next level. He has should be able to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3. Because he lacks great speed he may be best suited to play in a 3-4. Good B level player (rounds 3-4).

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