by J.T. Toth
Photo of Ji'Ayir Brown on the field in his Penn State jersey.
The 2023 NFL Draft marked the first time in school history Penn State has had three straight years with three or more selections in the first two rounds. Penn State is one of only three schools who have had a player drafted in the first three rounds over the past 18 years. The other two schools are USC and LSU. The Nittany Lions have now had 46 draft selections since head coach, James Franklin’s arrival in 2015.
Here is a list of the Nittany Lions selected and how they should fit on their new teams:
CB-Joey Porter Jr. - Round 2, pick 32 - Pittsburgh Steelers
At Pick 32, players can be considered as first round talent, and the Steelers claimed their first pick in round two by stealing a corner that had an average mock draft rating of around 21 in Joey Porter Jr.
Porter Jr. slid to his hometown team, one that has a huge need at cornerback, playing where his father was revered for over eight seasons. This pick was predicted by many pundits to have been made 14 spots earlier when the Steelers were on the clock at pick #17.
Porter Jr. should be a first day starter and become a fan favorite in the Steel Town for years to come.
TE-Brenton Strange - Round 2, pick 61 - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville continues to build a young offense around Trevor Lawrence with the draft
pick of Strange. With Evan Engram already at the tight end position, Strange brings a lot of
versatility to the position. Mainly seen as an H-back type, Strange can line up several different
ways and will also add to the running game with his blocking skills. Strange is just one of three
FBS tight ends since 2020 to run 300 routes from the slot, 150 routes as an in-line TE, and 75
routes split out wide.
C-Juice Scruggs - Round 2, pick 62 - Houston Texans
“The Juice” was squeezed out a little earlier than we had on our board, but he is going to a team that needs help at the position. Last year's starter, Scott Quessenberry, was 40th among centers in pass block win rate and 36th in run block win rate. Scruggs could, at some point in 2023, be the starting center for an up and coming Houston Texans team.
S-Ji’Ayir Brown - Round 3, pick 87 - San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are set on the defensive side of the ball, but with aging starter, Tashaun Gipson Sr. (32 years old), the 49ers are starting to plan for the future. Brown starts his career in a non-pressure situation and can help on special teams right away.
QB-Sean Clifford - Round 5, pick 149 - Green Bay Packers
Clifford, the 11th QB to be selected in the draft, was widely considered as a QB you could sign after the draft. Green Bay, with Jordan Love at the helm and only Danny Etling on the roster, are going to almost certainly sign another veteran quarterback in the upcoming weeks. Clifford brings experience and is 3 ½ months older than Jordan Love who was drafted in 2020. This was an unlikely pick and one for depth with little to no starter potential.
WR- Parker Washington - Round 6, pick 185 - Jacksonville Jaguars
Parker Washington joins teammate, Brenton Strange, in Jacksonville as they look to add weapons for Trevor Lawrence. Washington joins a crowded WR room, which includes Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones, and Christian Kirk. Parker may have to make his mark on special teams early to crack the lineup in Jacksonville.
UNDRAFTED PENN ST. PLAYERS WHO SIGNED WITH AN NFL TEAM
LB-JONATHAN SUTHERLAND - SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
LS-CHRIS STOLL - SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
WR-MITCHELL TINSLEY - WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
DT-P.J. MUSTIPHER - DENVER BRONCOS