Garrett Sickels was forced to endure a seven-hour long Day 3 of the NFL draft — only to walk away without hearing his named called under the bright lights of Philadelphia.
He was one of 28 early entry prospects who went undrafted.
That wasn’t part of Sickels’ plan. But, on Saturday night, his mother announced on Twitter that her son was still heading to the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent. And, on Friday, Sickels sounded as if he would be at peace with whatever transpired during the draft.
“The most important thing I’ve really learned — and it’s something that I learned at the end of last season as well — is just to control what I can control and not worry about anything else that’s out of my realm,” Sickels said on the Steve Jones Show. “I’m just focusing on whatever I can do to be better going into camp this summer and just being patient.”
Sickels was widely regarded as Penn State’s No. 2 prospect, behind third-round pick Chris Godwin, and many draft experts pegged him as a late-round pick, even after posting sub-par numbers at the NFL Combine. ESPN’s Steve Muench went so far as to say last week, matter-of-factly, “He’ll be drafted late.”
His speed and length were called into question, but there were never any doubts about his production. He led all Penn State defensive linemen in tackles (47) last season, in addition to leading the team in tackles-for-loss (12.5) and tying for the lead in sacks (6).
“He’s a high-motor, great effort guy, relentless, a leader with strong hands,” former NFL scout Dan Shonka, who now oversees OurLads.com, told the Centre Daily Times last week. “He’s 6-foot-3, 261 pounds, so he needs to get bigger and stronger. But he’ll work his way into a backup position.”
Other Penn State UDFAs: Although nothing is yet official, linebacker Brandon Bell told 247 sports that he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Defensive end Evan Schwan is reportedly heading to the New York Giants. And safety Malik Golden announced on Instagram that he was heading to the San Francisco 49ers.
“The best birthday present I could ask for, dreams do come true,” Golden wrote. “Can’t wait to go to work.”
Other Penn State players hoping to land on an NFL team — as of press time — include OL Brian Gaia and LB Nyeem Wartman-White, among others.
Former Penn State quarterback Tyler Ferguson, who spent the 2013 season backing up Christian Hackenberg, also reportedly signed with the Tennessee Titans.