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NFL experts have spoken: Here are 2020 draft projections for Penn State football players

JON SAUBER
Centre Daily Times (TNS)
Yetur Gross-Matos

The 2020 NFL draft is less than 10 days away, even as the rest of the sports world stands still.

Experts continue to pump out mock drafts projecting where players across the country will land from April 23-25, including several former Penn State players.

Let’s look at where five former Nittany Lions are currently projected in four different seven-round mock drafts.

DE Yetur Gross-Matos

First round, No. 25 overall, Minnesota Vikings (WalterFootball): Landing with Minnesota would give Gross-Matos an opportunity to get on the field quickly. The Vikings are set to lose longtime defensive end Everson Griffen, who remains a free agent. Gross-Matos would have a chance to fill his role across from two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter.

First round, No. 29 overall, Tennessee Titans (CBSSports): The Titans are in need of pass-rush help and Gross-Matos could provide what they’re looking for on the edge. He’s athletic enough to fit multiple roles in Tennessee’s versatile scheme and could be used as a stand-up pass rusher in head coach Mike Vrabel’s system.

Second round, No. 35 overall, Detroit Lions (SportingNews, DraftWire): Detroit, like Minnesota, would be pairing Gross-Matos with another dominant pass rusher. “The Lions need more defensive line punch and tapping into the other Lions to better complement Trey Flowers at end is a good value pick,” Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer wrote.

K.J. Hamler

WR K.J. Hamler

Second round, No. 45 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CBSSports): Hamler would have an opportunity to catch passes from one of the best quarterbacks of all-time if he were to land in Tampa. The wide receiver would be snagging balls from future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady and would fill in nicely as an option in the slot alongside three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans and former Nittany Lion Chris Godwin.

Second round, No. 46 overall, Denver Broncos (DraftWire): The Broncos need help at wide receiver and could use an option in the slot to open the field up for Courtland Sutton. Hamler’s speed would allow that to happen, although it could come at the cost of another former Nittany Lion. Former Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton would likely be displaced as a slot option if Hamler is selected by the Broncos.

Second round, No. 51 overall, Dallas Cowboys (SportingNews): Dallas already has two good young wide receivers in Amari Cooper, who received a five-year $100 million contract this offseason, and 2018 third-round pick Michael Gallup. However, they lost slot receiver Randall Cobb, who signed with the Houston Texans in free agency, and will need an option in the slot.

Second round, No. 58 overall, Minnesota Vikings (WalterFootball): The Vikings are in search of a second receiver next to Adam Thielen after trading Stefon Diggs for a package of picks, including a first-rounder. Hamler would add the same play-making ability Diggs had, while creating space for Thielen by stretching the field vertically.

Robert Windsor

DT Robert Windsor

Fifth round, No. 148 overall, Carolina Panthers (WalterFootball): Windsor would add depth and versatility to the Panthers’ defensive line and could play for another former Penn State letterwinner, Matt Rhule, who took the head coach position for Carolina this offseason.

Sixth round, No. 192 overall, Green Bay Packers (SportingNews): The former Penn State defensive tackle would have a homecoming if he’s taken by the Packers. Windsor played his high school football in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, and would be able to play multiple spots across the Green Bay three-man front.

Seventh round, No. 233 overall, Chicago Bears (DraftWire): The Bears would present another three-man front for Windsor to play in. The defensive tackle is likely best as a defensive end in the 3-4 defense and would have a chance to learn behind former Pro Bowl defensive end Akiem Hicks in Chicago.

Seventh round. No. 215 overall, Cincinnati Bengals (CBSSports): Windsor would play behind, or alongside, one of the best defensive tackles of all-time in eight-time Pro Bowler and defensive tackle for the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade team Geno Atkins if he were to land with the Bengals.

LB Cam Brown

Fourth round, No. 137 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars (SportingNews): Brown had the widest range of outcomes of the Penn Staters to appear in these mocks, showing up in the fourth and fifth round in two of them, while going undrafted in the other two. Landing in Jacksonville would put him behind one of the most versatile linebackers in the league in Myles Jack.

Fifth round, No. 150 overall, New York Giants (CBSSports): The Giants already had two of Brown’s former teammates on the roster heading into the offseason in Saquon Barkley and Grant Haley, then added former Penn State defensive assistant Sean Spencer to go with them. Few NFL teams would have the Giants’ familiarity with Brown on and off the field.

John Reid

CB John Reid

Sixth round, No. 213 overall, New England Patriots (CBSSports): Reid, like Brown, only showed up in two mocks, but landed with historic franchises in both. He wouldn’t have an easy path to playing time in New England, but has the type of inside-out versatility the Patriots covet in defensive backs.

Seventh round, No. 232 overall, Pittsburgh Steelers (WalterFootball): WalterFootball’s mock draft would keep Reid in Pennsylvania, where he played in high school for St. Joseph’s Prep along with spending five years at Penn State. The former Penn State cornerback would be joining former teammate Marcus Allen in the defensive backfield in Pittsburgh.