Christian Hackenberg impresses with pro day performance
He has the size and the arm strength, but does he have the accuracy?
After his combine performance, that was still the scouting report on Christian Hackenberg. According to USA Today, “Hackenberg sailed numerous throws, forced receivers to jump on a couple short routes and generally didn’t look comfortable while working in a group that included Cal’s Jared Goff and Michigan State’s Connor Cook” at the combine.
Penn State’s pro day was a chance for Hackenberg to quiet some concerns about his combine performance and his 56-percent career completion rate.
Those who were on hand to watch Hackenberg throw on Thursday said that he did just that.
Christian Hackenberg just finished throwing at PSU Pro Day. Improved outing, I counted 3 off-target passes. pic.twitter.com/8I0VgJPrVn
— Marley Paul (@MarleyPaul22) March 17, 2016
My unofficial count: Hack 44-52. Completed 21 in row at one point. Barely missed couple of 50 yarders after long scramble. Awesome day.
— Cory Giger (@CoryGiger) March 17, 2016
The only area Hackenberg reportedly struggled with was on a few short dump-off passes. When he got a chance to air it out, he showed off the arm strength that many scouts are high on:
Plenty of zip on the deep ball. pic.twitter.com/eTEiXAcwTR
— Derek Levarse (@TLdlevarse) March 17, 2016
The 6-4 signal-caller had plenty of NFL eyes watching him Thursday. New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman were both in attendance to watch Hackenberg throw.
Hackenberg’s quarterback trainer, Jordan Palmer, said that the workout he turned in will help boost his draft stock:
Jordan Palmer, Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg's QB trainer, thinks Hackenberg is about to trend up nationally. pic.twitter.com/mtQgrxiPpb
— Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) March 17, 2016
Before he worked out, James Franklin gave NFL Network a projection of Hackenberg.
“Depending on the situation he walks into, I think he can be a franchise quarterback, but I think there’s very few guys that are able to walk in from Day 1 and make that transition,” Franklin told NFL Network’s NFL HQ on Thursday. “… I think the ideal situation for any quarterback, including Christian, is to be able to come in, be around a veteran quarterback that’s really skilled and learn from that guy (for) a year or so.
“Now, when you’re able to step in, he is ready to handle that situation.”
Hackenberg still isn’t an NFL-ready starter and his chances of going in the first round likely faded. But if nothing else, he helped himself on Thursday.