Gridiron Heroics partners with Draft Scout to give each school’s Top 5 NFL Draft prospects in the Big Ten. Welcome to a list of the Penn State Top 5 NFL Draft prospects for 2023, as seen by Draft Scout.
Each week brings us closer and closer to one of the most anticipated days on the sports calendar — the NFL Draft. This year’s draft will be held in Kansas City, Missouri from April 27-29. Starting today? We take a look at the Big Ten seniors, the class of 2023. Since we don’t know yet which underclassmen will declare, we will reconfigure the rankings when that happens. So be sure to revisit us!
Our Big Ten Draft prospect series will run beginning Nov. 14 and will run for the next week, with three schools running per day in alphabetical order. A master conference list of the Big Ten’s Top 20 NFL draft prospects will wrap things up on Monday, Nov. 21. Please click the team links below frequently so you can check out the other schools’ top prospects as the week progresses.
BIG TEN TOP 20 PROSPECTS: Overall Big Ten Top Prospect List
BIG TEN EAST PROSPECTS: Indiana | Maryland | Michigan | Michigan State | Ohio State | Penn State | Rutgers
BIG TEN WEST PROSPECTS: Illinois | Iowa | Minnesota| Nebraska | Northwestern| Purdue| Wisconsin
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So, we all know that not every team in the country has five surefire draft picks on it. Some programs do, especially in some of the more elite conferences, but the vast majority don’t have that many top-flight prospects. But, we also know that the definition “top-flight” doesn’t always pan out, and at the same time that strong undrafted free agent everybody forgot? He ends up making an NFL and flourishing.
Below is a look at the Penn State Top 5 Draft Prospects, and how they project in the eyes of Draft Scout. Again, for now, we’ll go strictly with seniors (class of 2023), as no underclassmen have been allowed to declare early yet, though when they do? We’ll update the lists below.
PENN STATE TOP 5 NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS
NO. 1 PROSPECT
NAME: Ji’Ayir Brown (Free Safety)
DRAFTSCOUT PROJECTION: 3rd round
CAREER STATISTICS: Over the past two seasons, Brown has amassed 128 tackles and he has 9 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles
THE TRUTH: Brown is ranked 87th in the top 350 seniors draft list. He is considered in the top 10 of the seniors at his position. At 5’11” and 208 pounds with a 40-yard dash time of 4.46, his measurables do not stand out, but Brown is an excellent defender near the line of scrimmage and he plays downhill. That and his nose for the ball should result in a day two draft selection.
NO. 2 PROSPECT
NAME: PJ Mustipher (Defensive Tackle)
DRAFTSCOUT PROJECTION: 5th round
CAREER STATISTICS: In five seasons, the big DT accumulated 134 tackles, which is a lot for an interior lineman. Mustipher has 10.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in his career. He has also forced two fumbles
THE TRUTH: Mustipher is a space eater, standing standing 6’4″ and weighing in at 323 pounds. The former four-star recruit is a second year team captain, and he is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi Award, the Bronco Nagurski Award, and the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He has length and power and his hand use to shed blockers is excellent. He is powerful, and possesses the ability to stand up to a double team or bull rush a lineman into the backfield.
NO. 3 PROSPECT
NAME: Juice Scruggs (Center)
DRAFTSCOUT PROJECTION: 6th-7th round
CAREER STATISTICS: Scruggs is a two-year starter who can also play guard. One of the 2022 team captains, he earned the team’s 2021 Dick Maginnis Memorial Award, recognizing the most outstanding offensive lineman.
THE TRUTH: Scruggs’ 40-yard dash time of 5.16 is above average for an interior lineman, and his 6’3″ 305 pound frame mixes a strong upper body with a thick, sturdy base. He has a quick first step and good hand placement, helping to make him a good run blocker, and his balance, vision, and leadership aid in his pass protecting ability.
NO. 4 PROSPECT
NAME: Chris Stoll (Long Snapper)
DRAFTSCOUT PROJECTION: High Priority Free Agent
CAREER STATISTICS: Stoll is a four-year starter and a sixth-year senior. He was elected to the Patrick Mannelly Award watch list and named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team watch list. He recently accepted an invitation to play in the Hula Bowl.
THE TRUTH: Stoll is a consistent snapper with a ton of experience. Playing for Penn State and in the Big Ten, he has had to perform in high stakes situations. He snaps with excellent speed and accuracy. He is a team player and a hard worker and should find his way on to an NFL roster in the spring.
NO. 5 PROSPECT
NAME: Hunter Nourzad (Guard)
DRAFTSCOUT PROJECTION: High Priority Free Agent
CAREER STATISTICS: The 6’3″ 315 pound Nourzard has appeared in seven games at guard and center this season, with four as starts. He was named the coaching staff’s Offensive Player of the Game following the Auburn contest in September.
THE TRUTH: Nourzard is a transfer from Cornell, where he started his last 20 games at tackle. In 2021 at Cornell, he earned second-team All-America honors and Phil Steele named him Ivy League Offensive Lineman of the Year. Nourzard was also a first-team All-Ivy League selection last year and earned Academic All-Ivy League Honors. He is an intelligent and athletic lineman with good hands and footwork, and his experience at all three line positions gives him the versatility that could earn him an invitation to some NFL camps in the spring.
THE OTHER HOPEFULS
There are a few other Nittany Lion seniors who hope to be in NFL camps in the spring and maybe make a practice squad. Sixth-year quarterback Sean Clifford is an experienced leader with moxie, and he throws a lot of touchdown passes. However, he has been somewhat turnover prone and that could prevent him from making an NFL roster. Wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley, the Western Kentucky transfer, is a good open field receiver and could sign on to a team as a free agent.
Also, a few highly touted underclassmen, such as Joey Porter, Jr., Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Parker Washington, and Adisa Isaac, are probable draft picks should they declare early for the NFL draft. However, they cannot declare until after the regularly scheduled games are complete, so for now, we are just ranking the seniors. Check back after the season – if any underclassmen declare, we will update these rankings and re-publish the articles.
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