Christian Hackenberg in the first round? Multiple experts still believe it can happen
One of the most anticipated performers at the NFL Scouting Combine was Christian Hackenberg.
His draft stock has been debated, debated again and then debated some more. That likely won’t change for the next two months leading up to the NFL draft.
As expected, Hackenberg had plenty of eyes on him in Indianapolis. While the Penn State quarterback didn’t necessarily deliver an all-world combine performance, he certainly gained/kept some supporters.
One scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Hackenberg could still wind up as a first-round pick.
“After his freshman year people looked at him as the first pick in the draft,” the scout said. “He could be as talented as any of these quarterbacks. He’s got the arm, the body and is actually a competitor. But the coaches there at Penn State didn’t play to his strengths.
“A premier type talent like that is so hard to find these days. I could see him going latter part of the first round.”
NFL Draft Scout’s Matt Miller also agreed that Hackenberg, despite his struggles after James Franklin took over, could still have a first-round suitor.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 28, 2016
Mel Kiper Jr., on the other hand, said before the combine that the only team that could take a shot on Hackenberg in the first round would be the Houston Texans because of Bill O’Brien.
The former Penn State coach didn’t necessarily show his hand in regards to his former freshman quarterback. He did say that he’s not sure if Hackenberg has starter ability and that it’s difficult to be a starter in the NFL.
In the end, the combine likely didn’t make or break Hackenberg’s draft stock. He had an up and down throwing session but he did have the fourth-best 40-yard dash time (4.78) among quarterbacks and he was fifth in the three-cone drill.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock admitted that Hackenberg had “really bad tape.” But after watching him on Saturday, he said he has no idea where Hackenberg will wind up.
Mayock’s opinion still might be the consensus.