Former Penn State Football edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
It should come as no surprise that Ebiketie was one of the first Nittany Lions off the board, as he was the second Penn State Football letterman selected in this year’s draft, following Jahan Dotson who was selected 16th overall by the Washington Commanders.
In his lone season in the black shoes and basic blues, Ebiketie led the Big Ten with 18 tackles-for-loss, 9.5 of them coming by way of the sack. He tallied 62 total tackles and was one of the primary reasons that Penn State Football was one of the top defenses in college football in 2021.
‘AK’ did this enroute to earning a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
What’s next for the former standout edge rusher for Penn State Football?
As the 38th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Arnold Ebiketie joins a Falcons team that finished 7-10 last season.
‘AK’ joins USC wide receiver Drake London, who the Falcons selected in the first round, in Atlanta. The two will presumably be key pieces to a rebuild, along with tight end Kyle Pitts, their first-round pick from a year ago.
The Falcons allowed 27 points per game last season, tied for third worst in the NFL. Additionally, they were dead last in sacks, compiling just 17 as a team throughout the entire season, so it makes perfect sense for them to have selected one of the best edge rushers in the draft.
With the Falcons, Ebiketie may not be a three-down defender right away, as he needs to improve upon his run defense, but he can and will be a highly effective pass rusher from day one.
Pro Football Network had this to say in their evaluation of Ebiketie;
"Athletically, Ebiketie has many impressive traits as well. The Penn State DE is very explosive. With his fiery first step off the line, he can create displacement off the snap. He also has great long-track explosiveness and lateral agility. He can go inside-outside and manipulate attack angles. Furthermore, Ebiketie can transition from attacking vertically to attacking laterally in a very short span."
As a former three-star prospect coming out of high school that has now become a second round NFL Draft pick, Ebiketie has continually exceeded expectations, which is a credit to defensive line coach John Scott Jr, as well as ‘AK’ himself.
Now, he will be tasked with being the focal point of a Falcons defense in dire need of a pass rush.