Jon Gruden: I'll be shocked if Christian Hackenberg doesn't go in the first round
Everybody has an opinion about Christian Hackenberg.
His draft stock has been one of the hottest topics of conversation for several months now. Just over a week away from the draft, it still is.
ESPN NFL analyst/quarterback guru Jon Gruden got to spend time with the former Penn State quarterback at his QB Camp in Orlando. There, Gruden wasn’t afraid to criticize Hackenberg for his inability to avoid sacks and how that couldn’t continue in the NFL.
After the process completed, Gruden talked about the five takeaway points from his time with Hackenberg. The first one was definitely noteworthy:
1. I’ll be shocked if Hackenberg is not a first-round pick
The biggest surprise to me on Hackenberg is that no one is really talking about him in the first round. This was the No. 1 prospect in the nation a few years ago and someone who showed during his freshman year he could produce at a high level in a true NFL-style offense. What he showed during that first year at Penn State — before the coaching change, before the system change, before all the things that derailed him — would be enough for me to take this guy early. This man can run a 4.7-second 40, he is tough as hell and he works relentlessly. He just has to get in the right system with the right people and refocus on the small details.
That’s quite the statement coming from Gruden, who is one of the more respected voices in NFL media. Few, if any, mock drafts have Hackenberg being selected in the first round. Most have him as a Day-2 pick.
Gruden, however, did say that he thinks Hackenberg needs time to develop. Unfortunately, most first-round quarterbacks in today’s NFL doesn’t get that time.
Here were Gruden’s other takeaway points on Hackenberg:
- Memories are too short when it comes to this QB
- For Hackenberg, it’s all about getting comfortable again
- Hackenberg was especially strong at the board
- Hackenberg needs help from the ground up
Hackenberg wasn’t the only B1G quarterback Gruden was high on. At his QB Camp, he asked Connor Cook, ‘How the hell are you not the first pick in this draft?’
It’s interesting that Gruden offered high praise for Cook and Hackenberg, both of whom are the most scrutinized quarterbacks in the draft.
It’s safe to say that if both aren’t picked in the first round next Thursday, Gruden will be even more animated than usual.