Penn State players in need of strong NFL combine; Nittany Lions keep NCAA dreams alive

Christian Campbell-Penn State-NFL Scouting Combine

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Showing off

A lot of the attention at the NFL combine will be given to former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, though you could add that his pro day at Penn State could be more important.

But there are plenty of other former Nittany Lions who will need a strong combine to hear their name called in the spring draft.

John McGonigal and Josh Moyer of the Centre Daily Times break down who must step up and showcase their talent in Indianapolis starting Feb. 27.

Moyer says it is cornerback Christian Campbell, while McGonigal says it’s safety Troy Apke, who is an interesting study.

From McGonigal:

However, after an MVP performance in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in which he intercepted Michigan quarterback John O’Korn, Apke has some momentum. That translated into an invitation to Indy, one many didn’t think he’d secure.

And the thing is, there’s a good chance Apke turns some heads. The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder came to Penn State as a wide receiver, so the speed and athleticism are there. It wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Apke’s 40-yard dash time rank in the upper tier among safeties.

Will anyone be able to take attention away from whatever Barkley does though?

A word from the sponsors

Speaking of Barkley, Nike debut its first ad with the potential No. 1 overall pick.

Barkley signed with Nike last week.

Cashing in

Allen Robinson arguably has had the best NFL career of any Penn State receiver. Now he is set to cash in on his success.

Moyer noted that Robinson is set to become, for now, the highest paid Penn State player who has ever played in the NFL.

Writes Moyer in the Centre Daily Times:

If the Jacksonville Jaguars choose to franchise tag him, essentially giving him a one-year “prove it” deal, he’s set to make about $16.3 million, according to ESPN. Another option for the Jaguars is to try to lock him up to a short-term, team-friendly deal with lots of incentives — or offer him a similar-but-less-expensive deal as the Philadelphia Eagles did for Alshon Jeffery (1 year, $14 million) in place of the franchise tag.

Of course, Barkley has yet to be drafted and land his deal. So in due time, Robinson could be the second-highest paid former Nittany Lions player.

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A partnership formed

Trace McSorley owes a lot of credit for his success to former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. But Ricky Rahne, Moorhead’s replacement, might be able to get more out of the quarterback in his senior year.

Though the sample size is small, the time the two have spent together as coordinator and quarterback has worked out well thus far, writes Mike Poorman of StateCollege.com.

Keeping tourney hopes alive

If the Penn State men’s basketball team is to make the NCAA Tournament, what they did Thursday night will go a long way to helping their case.

In front of one of the largest crowds all season, the Nittany Lions drilled No. 8 Ohio State 76-59 thanks to 30 points from Tony Carr and a double-double from Mike Watkins (11 points, 10 rebounds).

Lauren Muthler of the Centre Daily Times writes that not only did they keep the NCAA dream alive, they swept the Buckeyes this season and didn’t need a Carr buzzer beater to do it this time.

The win pushes Penn State to 19-9 overall and to 9-6 in the Big Ten. Penn State plays at Purdue on Sunday, is home against Michigan on Wednesday, and has a critical bubble game at Nebraska to conclude the regular season on Feb. 25.

Miss previous editions of the Wakeup Call? They can be found here.

 

The post Penn State players in need of strong NFL combine; Nittany Lions keep NCAA dreams alive appeared first on Land of 10.

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