The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine invites have been announced and Penn State is sending five former Nittany Lions to Indianapolis.
Led by projected first-round pick Yetur Gross-Matos, the Penn State football team will be well represented at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in March. The Nittany Lions saw five former athletes receive invites to the combine including Gross-Matos and KJ Hamler, each who have seen their names come up in the first round of respective mock drafts this offseason.
Joining Gross-Matos and Hamler are linebacker Cam Brown, interior defender Robert Windsor and defensive back John Reid. The defending National Champion LSU Tigers saw the most invites at 16.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein had some extremely positive things to say about the Penn State football headliner in Gross-Matos, projecting him with a grade of 6.5, or a ‘boom or bust prospect’ heading into the combine. As Zierlein stated in his analysis, his all-around play that garnered him first-team all-conference is something to behold.
He moved up to first-team all-conference as a junior after pacing his defense with 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks among 40 total tackles. The rush toolbox is only halfway full, but it’s just a matter of time before his spin move and a speed-to-power charge become part of a diversified attack. Gross-Matos should be an early starter, but when the power and skill catch up with the athleticism, look for him to become one of the more productive defenders in the league.
His comparable player at the next level is Aaron Schobel, who played nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills in the early 2000s, according to Zierlein.
Hamler is the next-highest on the list, earning a grade of 5.9 or ‘backup/special-teamer’ as of right now. Hamler’s explosiveness and sudden explosive athleticism should turn heads at the combine. He ran by basically everyone a season ago and despite some drop issues, should certainly do well at the athletic testing portions in Indy.
If he can prove the drops were just a concentration issue in 2019 and do a great job with his hands at the combine, there is no doubt that he’ll move up draft boards as he’s a vital component to the new NFL pass-happy offenses from the slot.
Brown edges out Windsor with the next-highest grade according to NFL.com, earning a 5.97, just below the mark of ‘developmental prospect.’ Brown will be ultra-reliant on his coverage ability that saw him redirect routes and take away underneath passes at will last season. His measurements should send those who are into measurables through the roof.
His speed and length should bode well for him, if he can control himself, according to Zierlein:
Long-limbed, 4-3 linebacker with moldable play traits and an attacking play demeanor. Needs to add muscle and learn to play under control. Brown has the speed and length to put himself into position to make plays but he overshoots open field tackle opportunities. He is average in zone coverage, but has intriguing rush/blitz potential that might be tantalizing. He might climb the ladder from a backup to something more if he can play stronger and with more discipline.
Windsor and Reid round out the Penn State football invites as Windsor saw a grade of 5.6 from NFL.com. His tenacity to play through the whistle and despite injury showcase his work ethic and tenacity. He can shed blockers with ease and win one-on-ones but we’ll have to see what his measurables are at the combine as some will likely deem him too small to play on the inside at the next level.
Reid didn’t finish with a grade yet all he did at Penn State was produce. He rarely missed tackles and made two interceptions with seven more pass breakups this past season, finishing his illustrious Penn State career with seven picks and 21 pass breakups as well as several more incompletions forced due to his sticky coverage.
The Penn State football team will be well represented for sure at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine — who are you most excited to see?