Here are 10 Penn State football players who could go in the 2023 NFL draft
Penn State football had eight players go in the 2022 NFL draft over the weekend and another five sign as undrafted free agents after the three day event concluded.
The eight players selected set a new high in the James Franklin era of Nittany Lion football and set a program high since 1996.
Let's take a look at the next group of Nittany Lions who could hear their names called at the 2023 NFL draft in Kansas City.
Note: The following list is in alphabetical order by last name.
Safety Ji'Ayir Brown: Brown is one of the top potential prospects for Penn State next season. He chose to return for an extra year of eligibility when he would've been one of the top safeties drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft.
He's excellent playing the deep third of the field in coverage, leading the nation in interceptions with six, but can also play man against slot receivers. Brown is one of the most well-rounded safety prospects in the country heading into the 2022 season.
Quarterback Sean Clifford: Clifford is heading into his sixth season at Penn State and fourth as the starter. He's had an up and down career, but it's possible an NFL team will take a chance on him because of his work ethic and experience. While he could go in the late rounds, his age should push him to being an undrafted free agent.
Offensive tackle Olu Fashanu: Yes, this is a stretch, but offensive tackles are always in high demand and Fashanu has a chance to impress in his first year as a starter. He has great size at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds and can move his feet well for a lineman with that size. His tools can stack up with plenty of other draftable tackles and he could be on the NFL's radar sooner rather than later.
Defensive end Adisa Isaac: Few players can help themselves this fall more than Isaac. He's the type of pass rusher NFL teams are willing to overdraft. His size and athleticism are top notch but he hasn't been on the field for over a year after tearing his Achilles last offseason. Isaac can prove he's worthy of the 2023 NFL Draft if his production can match his tools in his first year as a starter.
Linebacker Curtis Jacobs: Jacobs is the best linebacker at Penn State and should be in position to get drafted if he chooses to leave early next year. That being said, he still has steps to take to get there. Jacobs flies all over the field and is one of the best athletes the Nittany Lions have. He uses that to make plays in both the run and passing game, relying on his instincts to make plays. He just has to combine his high-level play with more experience and refinement and he should see his name rise up draft boards.
Tight end Theo Johnson: This one is based strictly on potential rather than production. Johnson has as much upside as anyone on the roster. He's a good route runner, has excellent athleticism and possesses protoypical size for an NFL tight end. Johnson should be a matchup nightmare for opponents, but wasn't used that way last season. Picking up more targets, and adding the production to go with the profile, would put Johnson in the conversation for the draft fairly quickly.
Defensive tackle PJ Mustipher: Mustipher had a chance to leave early after the 2021 season but an injury ended his season early and he decided to return for the 2022 season. The veteran defensive tackle is a good athlete who uses his size to occupy space in the running game while showing some upside as a pass rusher. He uses his hands well — thanks in part to his wrestling background — and has shown he can have a role in the NFL.
Cornerback Joey Porter Jr.: Early 2023 first round mock drafts have begun to roll in and this is the name that constantly comes up. Porter is the ideal size for an NFL cornerback and has the athleticism to hang with the best receivers in football. His next major test will be proving he can cover consistently without committing penalties. Doing that should put him firmly in the first round of next year's draft.
Wideout Mitchell Tinsley: Tinsley hasn't played a snap for Penn State, but he's one of the most proven players on the roster. He's a physical presence at wide receiver and has a large catch radius and strong hands. His refinement as a route runner stood out in his time with Western Kentucky and those traits alone would get him drafted. A year in the Penn State strength and conditioning program should only bolster his stock as he improves his athleticism.
Offensive tackle Caedan Wallace: The Penn State offensive line isn't a strength right now, but Wallace could be key to an improved group. He has all of the physical traits of an NFL offensive lineman with the athleticism and length to play inside at guard or stay on the outside at right tackle. This season will be about him putting it all together and showing on film that he can play at the next level.