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Penn State Football: 37 Ex-Lions in NFL Mandatory Mini-camps

by on June 12, 2016 10:40 PM

This is the height of the season for the NFL’s mandatory mini-camps – the final round of practices before the official preseason starts next month.

While seven NFL teams wrapped up mandatory camps last Thursday, the remaining 25 have drills this Tuesday through Thursday.

And Penn State is well-represented, with 37 former Nittany Lions on 24 of the 32 different NFL team rosters.

Among that group are eight rookies, a PSU-high six players entering their fourth season, two quarterbacks, one former Nittany Lion basketball player (Ross Travis) and a former Penn State lacrosse player (Chris Hogan).

But not a single running back.

Overall, the 37 is five more than were on NFL rosters at this time in 2015, a measurable uptick. True, each pro team will have to cut up to 35 players between now and the start of the NFL season. But the sheer bulk of Nittany Lion bodies bodes well for the program, especially since 25 former Penn Staters on NFL rosters right now played at least one season while PSU was under NCAA sanctions.

Robbie Gould, the Chicago Bears’ place-kicker, is the veteran of the group, as he begins his 12th season in the NFL. Tamba Hali, an outside linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs, is in his 11th season, while linebacker Paul Posluszny enters Year 10, with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jags are one of three NFL teams with three former Penn Staters – in addition to Poz, they have defensive end Jared Odrick and wide receiver Allen Robinson. The Miami Dolphins have linebacker Mike Hull, rookie safety Jordan Lucas and defensive end Cameron Wake. The New Jets’ roster includes linebacker Deoin Barnes and rookies Tarow Barney (nose tackle) and Christian Hackenberg (quarterback).

Travis and Hogan are the two true football outliers. Travis played basketball but not football at Penn State. He originally had a tryout with Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans, then spent the bulk of last season as a tight end on the Chiefs’ practice squad. Hogan played lacrosse at Penn State, then did one season of college football at Monmouth University. He broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent at wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, then spent four years with the Buffalo Bills. In the offseason, Hogan signed a three-year deal for $12 million with the New England Patriots.

Penn Staters in the NFL are predominantly on defense. There are 11 Nittany Lion defensive linemen on current pro rosters, the most of any position, followed closely by linebacker, with nine. There are three safeties/cornerbacks. Offensively, Penn State has five offensive linemen on NFL rosters, followed by wide receivers (three), tight ends (three) and quarterbacks (two), plus one specialist.

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Arizona Cardinals – A.Q. Shipley (center, 5 yrs. in the NFL; 6-foot-1, 315 pounds).

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Baltimore Ravens – John Urschel (offensive guard, 3 yrs.; 6-3, 313).

Chicago Bears – Adrian Amos (free safety, 2 yrs.; 6-4, 218), Robbie Gould (place-kicker, 12 yrs.; 6-0, 185).

Cleveland Browns – Carl Nassib (defensive end, rookie; 6-7, 277).

Dallas Cowboys – Jack Crawford (defensive end, 5 yrs.; 6-5, 273), Sean Lee (linebacker, 7 yrs.; 6-2, 245).

Denver Broncos – Jordan Norwood (wide receiver, 7 yrs.; 5-11, 180).

Detroit Lions – Anthony Zettel (defensive end, rookie; 6-4, 277).

Houston Texans – Devon Still (defensive tackle, 4 yrs.; 6-5, 303).

Jacksonville Jaguars – Jared Odrick (defensive end, 6 yrs.; 6-5, 302), Paul Posluszny (middle linebacker, 10 yrs.; 6-2, 238), Allen Robinson (wide receiver, 3 yrs.; 6-3, 220).

Kansas City Chiefs – Tambi Hali (outside linebacker, 11 yrs.; 6-3, 275), Ross Travis (tight end, 1 yr.; 6-6, 225).

Miami Dolphins – Mike Hull (inside linebacker, 2 yrs.; 6-0, 237), Jordan Lucas (strong safety, rookie; 6-0, 198), Cameron Wake (defensive end, 8 yrs.; 6-2, 258).

Minnesota Vikings -- Kyle Carter (tight end, rookie; 6-3, 244).

New England Patriots – Chris Hogan (wide receiver, New England; 6-1, 215).

New Orleans Saints – Michael Mauti (linebacker, 4 yrs.; 6-2, 243), Nathan Stupar (inside linebacker, 4 yrs.; 6-2, 241).

New York Jets – Deoin Barnes (outside linebacker, 1 yr.; 6-3, 260), Tarow Barney (nose tackle, rookie; 6-1, 306), Christian Hackenberg (quarterback, rookie; 6-4, 223).

New York Giants – Brad Bars (defensive end, 2 yrs.; 6-3, 263)

Oakland Raiders – Matt McGloin (quarterback, 4 yrs.; 6-0, 210).

Philadelphia Eagles – Stefen Wisniewski (center, 6 yrs.; 6-3, 313).

Pittsburgh Steelers – Jesse James (tight end, 2 years; 6-7, 261).

San Diego Chargers – Trevor Williams (cornerback, rookie; 6-0, 195).

San Francisco 49ers – NaVorro Bowman (inside linebacker, 7 yrs.; 6-0, 242), Gerald Hodges (outside linebacker, 4 yrs.; 6-1, 243).

Seattle Seahawks – Garry Gilliam (offensive tackle, 3 yrs.; 6-6, 303), Jordan Hill (defensive tackle, 4 yrs.; 6-1, 303).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Donovan Smith (offensive tackle, 2 yrs.; 6-6, 338).

Tennessee Titans – Austin Johnson (defensive tackle, rookie; 6-4, 314), DaQuan Jones (defensive tackle, 3 yrs.; 6-4, 322).

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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