Penn State Nittany Lions
2020 NFL Draft Prospects
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Cam Brown, OLB
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and made 72 tackles (5.5 for loss) with two sacks and four pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 63 tackles (6.5 for loss) with two sacks, three forced fumbles and six PBUs as a junior.
Positives: Athletic linebacker prospect who showed consistent development the past three seasons. Covers a lot of area on the field, displays excellent range and easily changes direction. Physical, breaks down well, and works hard to get involved in the action. Quick, displays a closing burst to the play and aggressively lays his shoulders into ball carriers. Effectively uses his hands to protect himself or get off blocks. Instinctive and quickly locates the ball. Shows ability in coverage. Easily stays downfield with opponents.
Negatives: Streaky and disappears for stretches. Bites on play-action passes and ball fakes occasionally. Has a long, thin build and struggles to get off blocks.
Analysis: Brown is a solid athlete with nice length and growth potential. He’s flashed ability as a three-down defender and should only improve as he physically matures and fills out his frame.
Dan Chisena, WR
Career Snapshot: Former track athlete who joined the football team in 2018. Caught three passes for 66 yards as a senior in 2019. Recorded 28 top-10 finishes during the 2017 track-and-field season in the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay.
Positives: Track-and-field sprinter who fluidly releases off the line of scrimmage, possesses a tremendous burst of speed and plays faster than his 40 time. Can take it vertical and easily beat defenders down the field.
Negatives: Still must learn how to play wide receiver. Slows into breaks and really doesn’t fire into pass routes. Struggles to make the deep reception at full speed and does not display good hand-eye coordination. Has just three receptions to his credit the past two seasons.
Analysis: Chisena is a terrific combination of size, athleticism and flat-out speed, but he needs work on every area of his game. He must prove he’s more than a track sprinter on the football field, but his ability to play in a vertical offense makes Chisena worth a spot on the practice squad.
Steven Gonzalez, G
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter at left guard who earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2019. Named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten as a junior. Made three starts as a redshirt freshman.
Positives: Tough, small-area blocker who stays square, fights with his hands and blocks with a nasty attitude. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looks for someone to hit. Easily anchors in pass protection and controls opponents once engaged at the point. Works to bend his knees, stays square and gets movement as a run blocker. Easily turns defenders from the line to open up running lanes.
Negatives: Ineffective in motion. Lacks footwork in space and cannot slide laterally. Slow to pull across the line of scrimmage and can’t create space between himself and the ball carrier.
Analysis: Gonzalez was a terrific guard at the college level and got the most from his ability. He plays big football, but he lacks the athleticism and agility to be anything other than a backup in the NFL.
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who earned First Team All-Big Ten honors and made 40 tackles (15 for loss) with 9.5 sacks as a junior in 2019. Named Third Team All-Big Ten, finished second in the conference with 20 tackles for loss and made 54 tackles with eight sacks as a sophomore in 2018.
Positives: Very athletic, explosive pass rusher who can be used out of a three-point stance or standing over tackle. Plays with terrific pad level, gets leverage on opponents and shows great quickness. Easily changes direction, displays speed out into space and effectively pursues ball carriers down the field. Slices to the inside of bigger tackles, works his hands throughout the action and has a closing burst of speed. Immediately alters his angle of attack, redirects to the action and shows the ability to bend off the edge. Gets a lot of momentum going up the field and can be tough to stop. Resilient and works hard. Rarely off his feet.
Negatives: Lacks bulk and gets outpositioned from the action by a single blocker. Often too intent to rush up the field and overruns the action. Will struggle to stack against the run early in his NFL career.
Analysis: Gross-Matos is an explosive pass-rushing prospect with a high upside, but he needs to round off the edges of his game. He shows terrific movement skills to make plays in space as well as bend the edge, but he must get stronger and consistently play at a high level. Gross-Matos comes with tremendous upside, though there may be bumps in the road early in his NFL career.
K.J. Hamler, WR
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors and made 56 catches for 904 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019. Named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and caught 42 passes for 754 yards and five TDs as a redshirt freshman.
Positives: Explosive vertical pass catcher who’s also a terrific wide receiver. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage and can turn it on in a single step. True vertical threat with home-run-hitting speed. Consistent pass catcher who is fast in both a straight line and laterally and possesses tremendous burst. Tracks the ball in the air, nicely makes the over-the-shoulder reception, and possesses outstanding hand-eye coordination. Sets up defenders and makes them twist in the wind throughout his routes. Consistently catches the ball with his hands, keeps the play in bounds after the catch and works to pick up positive yardage. Plays tough football and fights to come away with the difficult reception. Explosive route runner who puts his foot the ground, changes direction and loses no momentum out of breaks. Fluid and natural in all aspects as a receiver. Uses his explosive speed to impact games as a kick returner.
Negatives: Lacks size and height and struggles in battles. Will need space to work in the NFL despite the toughness he displayed on the college field.
Analysis: Although he’s vertically challenged and a little slight of frame, Hamler is a terrific receiver with rare speed and next-level toughness. He’s best in the slot or even lined backed off the line of scrimmage, but Hamler should impact a team as a rookie and only improve as he learns to protect himself.
Jan Johnson, ILB
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and made 64 tackles (4.5 for loss) with one sack as a senior in 2019. Made 72 tackles as a junior. Began his Penn State athletic career on the wrestling team.
Positives: Instinctive, hard-working linebacker who consistently makes positive plays. Instinctive, keeps the action in front of him and shows great awareness. Breaks down well, works his hands to protect himself, and wraps up tackling. Play smart, disciplined football, does not bite on ball fakes and stays with assignments. Consistently makes plays whenever the ball is in his vicinity.
Negatives: Plays to one speed and shows no burst. Doesn’t cover much area on the field.
Analysis: Johnson is a tremendous football player who lacks next-level size and speed, but he’s a serviceable linebacker who could also help out on special teams.
John Reid, CB
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in each of his final two seasons at Penn State. Made 37 tackles (2.5 for loss) with two interceptions and eight pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Combined to make 60 tackles (six for loss) with three interceptions and 16 pass breakups as a junior in 2018 and as a sophomore in 2016. Took a medical redshirt in 2017 after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in spring practice.
Positives: Feisty cornerback with nice size. Instinctive, quickly reacts to the action and stays with assignments. Tracks the pass in the air and displays a solid burst to the ball out of his plant. Effective when he wraps up ball carriers. Sells out on the blitz.
Negatives: Inconsistent. Must smooth out his transition and hip flip. Often late to arrive on the scene.
Analysis: Reid possesses solid size and has flashed ball skills, but he displayed a lot of inconsistency the past two years. Likely best in a zone system with the action in front of him, he plays with a special-teams mentality, which will be his ticket into the NFL.
Garrett Taylor, S
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in both of those seasons. Made 84 tackles (4.5 for loss) with one interception and two pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 71 tackles (2.5 for loss) with three INTs and seven PBUs as a junior.
Positives: Tough run-defending safety who is at his best playing downhill. Flies up the field to defend the run and sells out to make plays. Strong open-field tackler with the ability to bring opponents down at the point of attack. Keeps the action in front of him and plays disciplined football. Takes proper angles to the action.
Negatives: Displays average speed and shows minimal burst. Lacks lateral range. Slow to get out to the flanks.
Analysis: Taylor is a tough safety who did well at the college level, but he lacks the speed to be anything other than a backup in the NFL.
Robert Windsor, DT
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who earned Third Team All-Big Ten honors and made 40 tackles (five for loss) with 3.5 sacks as a senior in 2019. Named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and made 39 tackles (11 for loss) with 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as a junior.
Positives: High-revving interior defensive lineman with tremendous quickness. Fires off the snap and plays with tremendous pad level. Rarely off his feet, fights with his hands throughout the action, and quickly locates the ball and nicely redirects it to make plays. Displays good change-of-direction ability and fluid lateral movement skills. Gets outside the box to pursue plays. Agile and easily moves about the field. Focused on by opponents and gets a lot of attention in the middle of the line.
Negatives: Easily taken from the action and gets tied up by a single blocker. Lacks overwhelming strength.
Analysis: Windsor is an intense, explosive defensive tackle who will be terrific on the inside of a four-man line and also offers possibilities as a one-gap defensive end in a three-man front. His nonstop motor and explosive quickness give Windsor an upper hand at the next level.
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