UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Six former Nittany Lions heard their names called during the 2018 NFL Draft, held April 27-29 in Arlington, Texas.
Headlining Penn State’s draft class was running back Saquon Barkley, who was selected by the New York Giants in the first round with the No. 2 overall pick. Barkley becomes Penn State’s fifth top-two draft pick, joining Ki-Jana Carter, Courtney Brown, LaVar Arrington and Blair Thomas. He is the 34th Nittany Lion running back selected all-time, with 11 of those ball carriers going in the first round. Penn state’s 11 first-round running backs are tied for the most of any NCAA program with Ohio State.
In the second round the Miami Dolphins selected tight end Mike Gesicki with the 42nd overall pick, making Gesicki the highest Penn State tight end selected in the draft since Kyle Brady went ninth overall in 1995.
Four former Nittany Lions were selected on the third day of the draft. Safety Troy Apke and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton were selected in the fourth round, while safety Marcus Allen was chosen in the fifth round and cornerback Christian Campbell was a sixth-round pick.
Apke was drafted by the Washington Redskins with the 109th overall pick, while Hamilton was the 113th overall selection by the Denver Broncos, Allen was the 148th overall selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Campbell was the 182nd overall selection by the Arizona Cardinals.
A total of 350 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, which ranks seventh among Division I institutions, including 37 in the first round. The Nittany Lions have had at least three players drafted six of the last seven years. The six selections are the most since 2010 when six Nittany Lions also were chosen.
In addition to the six drafted players, nine former Nittany Lions signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents: wide receiver Saeed Blacknall (Oakland Raiders), linebacker Jason Cabinda (Oakland Raiders), defensive lineman Tyrell Chavis (New York Giants), defensive lineman Curtis Cothran (Minnesota Vikings), defensive lineman Parker Cothren (Pittsburgh Steelers), kicker Tyler Davis (Buffalo Bills), cornerback Grant Haley (New York Giants), offensive lineman Brendan Mahon (Carolina Panthers), and linebacker Brandon Smith (Buffalo Bills).