Penn State NFL Draft superlatives: Christian Campbell a potential 2nd-round pick, what Mike Gesicki must prove, more
Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki runs after the catch as Nebraska linebacker Marcus Newby pursues during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium on Nov. 11, 2017. Joe Hermitt | firstname.lastname@example.org
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper thinks highly of Saquon Barkley, as does every NFL Draft scout.
The longtime observer thinks a few other Nittany Lions have a chance to shoot up draft boards, too.
Kiper released his second mock draft of the cycle on Wednesday, and later in the day he spoke to the media about it and all Draft prospects ahead of next week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Ind.
Here’s how he broke down a handful of former Lions:
Asked for the former Lion who has improved his stock the most, Kiper said:
“DaeSean Hamilton improved himself probably the most. He’s the ninth-highest rated receiver on my board, a third round grade, with a chance to be a second”
The all-time catches leader in PSU history, Hamilton took the East-West Shrine game by storm back in January, and that performance earned him a Senior Bowl invite. He performed well in that week of practice, as well, and will be followed closely by many at Lucas Oil Stadium.
And the Lion who can prove the most at the Combine?
“If Gesicki tests well, you’re looking at the fourth tight end off the board,” Kiper said.
The analyst also released his position rankings on Wednesday, and the Gesicki sat behind, in order, South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert, Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews, and South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst. Kiper sees the first two going in the first round and Hurst early in the second.
As for Gesecki?
[He] could be a solid second rounder with a good workout,” Kiper said.
The Christian Campbell train rolls on
Optimum Scouting’s Eric Galko probably earned some sideways looks for calling former PSU corner Christian Campbell a top-40 player back in January, but now many are coming around to the ideas of seeing him as a second-round pick if not a top-40 one.
“Campbell has the length, and I project Campbell to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick,” Kiper said.
He was also asked about a spot for safety Marcus Allen and said:
“Allen, little inconsistent as a tackler, but he throws his body around, and is decent enough in coverage ability to be a 4-5th round pick.”
A nugget on Barkley
All that needs to be said about No. 26 has been said by now, but it was notable to see Kiper switch Barkley from No. 4 to the Browns, which he had in his first mock, to No. 2 and the Giants on Wednesday. The first mock had the NFC East franchise taking a quarterback.
Why make the switch?
“I think it’s Barkley being a really good runner, receiver, blocker, helping Eli [Manning] get back to where he was; that’s a decision they have to make,” Kiper said.
“Do you build around Eli or go for the heir apparent? That’s a tough call. I could make a case for either one.”