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Saturday August 17 2019
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2016 Local NFL Draft Prospects

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There may not be a player with local connections selected in the opening round of this month's NFL Draft, but the region will nonetheless be well-represented once again when the NFL comes calling.

Penn State's Christian Hackenberg is the only player from the area with any real chance of being drafted in the first round, but that would be a surprise at this point. Hackenberg is more likely to fall in with Penn State teammates Austin Johnson and Carl Nassib, and Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd, as a second or third round pick.

EARLY ROUND PROSPECTS
Christian Hackenberg QB, Penn State: Hackenberg had his struggles his past couple of years in Happy Valley, but there is no denying his arm talent. He may need a year to develop and learn the pro game but he has the look of a classic pocket passer that every team looks for. Second round.

Austin Johnson NT, Penn State: Johnson was highly productive in 2015 for Penn State with 75 tackles. Johnson has the strength to shed blockers but like most players coming to the NFL his technique needs improvement. Second round.

Tyler Boyd WR, Pitt (Clairton): Scouts love Boyd’s competitiveness, route-running ability and hands, which make up for his lack of elite speed. Boyd projects to be a solid number two wide receiver in the NFL. Second or early-third round.

Carl Nassib DE, Penn State: Nassib is a raw prospect but with his drive, motor and natural instincts when it comes to tracking the football. He should be a solid contributor to a team in the NFL. Second or third round.

MIDDLE ROUND PROSPECTS
Karl Joseph SS, West Virginia: Joseph is coming of a torn ACL, but he is a natural playmaker and plays with an aggressive style that coaches love. If the medicals check out Joseph could be a draft day steal. Third or fourth round.

K.J. Dillon SS, West Virginia: Dillon has the ability to play both safety spots in the NFL due to his speed and instincts, however he missed more tackles at WVU than scouts and coaches would like – refined technique can rectify that issue, however. Dillon can be a long term starter in the right system.

Anthony Zettel DE, Penn State: Zettel’s natural talent and high motor and made him productive at Penn State, but his lack of size is not an ideal fit at any position along an NFL defensive line.

Nick Kwiatkoski LB, West Virginia (Bethel Park): Kwiatkoski has the versatility to play all three linebacker spots and is a weight room and film room warrior. However, Kwiatkoski’s physical limitations (size and speed) could prevent him from being a full time starter in the NFL. Special teams will probably be his ticket to making a roster.

Daryl Worley CB, West Virginia: Worley has the size and range to be a good cornerback, but his spotty agility may better suit him to play safety where his ball skills may be better put to use. Worley can be a productive player in the right scheme.

LATE ROUND PROSPECTS
Wendell Smallwood RB, West Virginia: Smallwood was the Big 12’s leading rusher and plays with a physical style; also adept at and catching the ball out of the backfield. Projects as a third down back in the NFL.

Jordan Lucas SS, Penn State: Lucas is a converted cornerback that plays with good technique, but his skills are still developing with his position change. Lucas may have to use special teams to get a look early in his career.

Mike Caputo SS, Wisconsin (West Allegheny): Caputo fought injury through his career at Wisconsin, and it’s taken a toll on his measurables. Tough, smart and active enough to be a special teamer.

Nick O’Toole P, West Virginia: Big punter with good athleticism. Averaged 45.1 yards per punt with a quality hang time of 4.06 seconds in 2015. Posted quick snap-to-punt time in every year. Only had two games all season without a punt of at least 51 yards. Has a sweet nickname ("Boomstache" in 2014 and "Boombeard" in 2015).

HIGH FREE AGENT POTENTIAL
Kyle Carter TE, Penn State
Trenton Coles CB, Duquesne (Clairton)
J.P. Holtz TE, Pitt (Shaler)
Chris King, WR, Duquesne
Angelo Mangiro C, Penn State
Lafayette Pitts CB, Pitt (Woodland Hills)
Artie Rowell C, Pitt

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