A perfect match? Why Hackenberg to the Texans makes too much sense

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 29:  Christian Hackenberg #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions throws a pass during the first quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Beaver Stadium on November 29, 2014 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

It wasn’t that long ago when many scouts felt that Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg would be a future number one pick in the NFL Draft. Now many question if he is one of the top five quarterbacks in this year’s class. Plagued by inconsistency, poor offensive line play, and  a terrible completion percentage, Hackenberg could find himself falling hard when the Draft arrives. Scouting Hackenberg I am not a big fan. My criticisms of the quarterback are that he doesn’t through a tight spiral, has trouble pushing the ball down field with his arm strength, and trouble reading defenses. As a prospect I see Hackenberg being a bust in the NFL, unless he is drafted by one team.

Christian Hackenberg, Bill O' Brien

A reunion could happen with O’brien and Hackenberg. It would be in Hackenberg’s best chance to succeed in the NFL

The Houston Texans is the perfect landing spot for Hackenberg. Given that they are looking for a franchise quarterback after playing QB roulette last season with four different starters, Houston has never truly had a franchise quarterback since their inception in 2002. With the 22nd pick in the draft, Hackenberg figures to be available at that spot. While he fits the Texans’ need for a signal caller, the main reason this is a match made in heaven is because of head coach Bill O’Brien.

As the head football coach of Penn State, O’Brien recruited Hackenberg to Happy Valley and helped turned him into an enticing prospect after a stellar freshmen campaign. In O’Briens system, Hackenberg had his best season at the collegiate level with a 58.9 completion percentage, and 20 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions. It looked like the Nittany Lions would have a dynamic duo with O’Brien and Hackenberg, until O’Brien accepted the head coaching job in Houston.

Since James Franklin took the reigns of the Nittany Lions, Hackenberg regressed with his completion percentage and passing yards both as career lows in his final season at Penn State. Franklin’s system did hurt Hackenberg by often putting the quarterback out their with a below average offensive line and asking the quarterback to throw the ball down the field.

Now the question is does O’Brien want to recruit Hackenberg for the second time? Currently Hackenberg is the fifth quarterback on Mel Kiper’s big board. He should be available at the 22nd pick for the Texans. There are scenarios, could Houston pass on Hackenberg in the first round and hope to trade up for him in the second round? It’s possible but one thing that could cripple Hackenberg’s draft stock is the interest his former head coach gives him.

If O’Brien doesn’t draft Hackenberg in the first round, or worse not even attend his pro day, that would certainly scare off teams that could have interest. Those teams would have to be thinking “if he doesn’t want his former quarterback that he recruited, there must be some major red flags”. The lack of interest could mean that Hackenberg would have a major fall on draft day.

Will their be a Penn State reunion on draft day? Or will Hackenberg’s college regression translate into his stock plummeting during the draft? Stay tuned to find out.

 

 

Can Penn State Fix the Big 10 After Ban?

With the news that Penn State will have both full scholarships and playoff rights returned to the program next season, the question now is can the Nittany Lions  save the Big 10 Conference. While the Big 10 still remains one of the power conferences in college football, it has been losing ground over the past decade. Conferences such as the Pac 12, ACC, and Big 12 have all significantly improved in terms of talent and yearly recruiting. These three conferences have even begun to close the gap on the best conference in the land, the SEC. While the rest of college football is on the upswing, the Big 10 has been heading in the wrong direction.

Can Penn State Save Big 10?

Can Penn State Save Big 10?

After this past weekend the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans have gone from favorites to compete in the college football playoff to long shots. The reason? The strength of schedule is the biggest concern especially with the quality of teams in the conference.  While the Spartans at least played a national power like Oregon, Ohio State continues to schedule cupcake non conference games which makes a loss even more devastating. Now with both schools having one loss apiece it now looks like both teams will now have to run the table if they want any shot at making the playoff.

How does Penn State help the fledgeling Big 10? Despite the limitations set by the NCAA the Nittany Lions have been able to still have very good recruiting classes and more importantly continue to win. Already off to a 2-0 start this season if Penn State can return to being a consistent top 25 program over the next few seasons they could bring back some much-needed respect to the Big 10.

Time for the Nittany Lions to roar again?

Time for the Nittany Lions to roar again?

Let’s face it, outside of Michigan State and Ohio State everybody else in the conference has just been average at best. Rutgers could be a dark horse program that may eventually boost the conference, but right now as a whole especially is average at best. With the Michigan Wolverines being a disaster while Wisconsin and Nebraska have stalled over the past few seasons.

One thing that Penn State does over it’s fellow conference opponents is some very good young quarterbacks coming into the program through recruiting including one of the best young signal callers in the country Christian Hackenberg. Despite Hackenberg getting off to a slow start this season, you can expect to hear his name associated next with the NFL Draft.

Penn State has weathered the storm admirably and has continued to build a very good program despite their limitations in recruiting. Now with their full scholarships all back it could be time for Penn State to go from surviving to thriving.