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Penn State Football: Well If Hackenberg Is Prepared For Anything, It's New York

by on April 29, 2016 9:35 PM

103 sacks, 3 years of questions, and 50 draft picks.

That's how long it took before Christian Hackenberg finally saw his gamble of playing for Penn State pay off as the New York Jets selected the Penn State junior midway through Friday night and the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Hackenberg, who holds nearly all of Penn State's passing records, will head to a city and team that he has been unknowingly prepared for his entire collegiate career. A place where losing is rarely accepted and the criticism rains down from everywhere. There is no love lost between fans and team. Sure when things go good it's great, but the rest of the time it is simply "what have you done for me lately."

So it's fitting that Hackenberg ends up in New York, playing in the same stadium he started his collegiate career in. After three years of a career that even his most devoted fans have a hard time boiling down, he will head to a place that will see the negative more than the positive. Something that maybe wasn't quite as present in his everyday life at Penn State, but it's foolish to think that majority of the most vocal fans were always singing his praises.

What happens next will be interesting. The Jets are currently trying to resign Ryan Fitzpatrick while benched but starter worthy Geno Smith sits in the wings with Baylor product Bryce Petty. Fitzpatrick signing would undoubtedly put Hackenberg on the development program route, something that he could probably use. A year to sharpen his fundamentals and get back his once confident footwork. if nothing else it's a year that doesn't involve him ending up on his back after most plays.

But New York has seen the unpopular pick work out well before. The Knicks rode Kristaps Porzingis to an at least watchable season this past year and there's nothing to say that can't happen again by the time Hackenberg's career is all said and done.

There's not much you can say that hasn't already been said about the now former Nittany Lion, but if anything, years of getting beat up on the field and on the message boards ought to have prepared Hackneberg for a place where people are already expecting him to fail.

Now everyone will just have to wait and see what he does for an encore. Because if nothing else, surviving this long is a bit of a victory all on its own.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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