The Penn State Nittany Lions are looking to get back to their winning ways in 2021, and they'll have the personnel to do so. Even after losing top defensive ends Shaka Toney and Odafe Oweh, linebacker Micah Parsons and tight end Pat Freiermuth, Penn State returns numerous very talented players. Here is a look at the top five NFL prospects on the Nittany Lions:
Adisa Isaac, DE
Penn State is slowly becoming 'Defensive End U,' and Isaac is next up. He has sat behind Yetur Gross-Matos, Toney and Oweh and now it is his turn to be the No. 1 edge rusher on the team. Even with only 311 career snaps, Isaac has put up very impressive film and it starts with the athleticism he displays on the field. He has freaky bend and can contort his body in several different ways to get around offensive tackles. At the Combine, Isaac should also test off the charts, similar to his predecessors. The only thing that Isaac needs to show next season is that he can produce as a full-time starter. If he does that, expect him to go higher than both Oweh and Gross-Matos. Isaac is that good and has all the tools teams want in an edge defender.
Rasheed Walker, T
Not very often do players get to match up against better competition in practice than the game, but that is the case with Walker. Dating back to his redshirt freshman season, Walker has never been fazed by the top edge rushers in the Big 10. He is such a smooth player, and it looks effortless for him on the field. Standing at 6-foot-6 with long arms and excellent athleticism, Walker projects as a starting left tackle at the next level. He has all the traits teams salivate over. Heading into the draft, Walker will be a three-year starter in the Big Ten. What separates Walker as a prospect is that he is excellent in both the run and pass game. There will be sequences where he pancakes defensive players as a run blocker and then shuts down a top opponent on the outside. Starting left tackles don't last very long in the draft, which means Walker shouldn't have to wait to hear his name called.
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB
Injuries aside, it is hard to find many holes in Castro-Fields' game. His ability in man coverage is excellent. He has the speed to stick with receivers deep and has the mirroring skills to stay in phase with some of the best route-runners in the country. His film against Ohio State was fantastic last season. This is a common theme with the players listed above, but Castro-Fields should test very well. It wouldn't be shocking to see him break 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. Where Castro-Fields ends up will be based on his injury history. He hasn't been able to stay healthy the past couple of years, so showing he can remain injury-free for the entirety of a season will be huge for Castro-Fields. If he can do that, it will cement him as a Day-2 prospect who can be a starting cornerback at the next level.
Jahan Dotson, WR
With KJ Hamler off to the NFL, Dotson was the top wideout for the Nittany Lions last season. He didn't disappoint with several big-time catches and highlight-reel plays. His game is predicated on quickness. He finds ways to get open with that quickness and excellent route-running for the collegiate level. His body control and great hands will also help him in his transition to the NFL. Dotson isn't an elite athlete or a big receiver, which could limit his game. He can find ways to make plays in the college game, but he will be more limited at the next level. With that being said, his skill set is very intriguing, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him become a solid contributor early in his career.
Jaquan Brisker, S
After transferring from Lackawanna Community College before his junior season, Brisker made a name for himself with a very impressive season. He came into his senior year with a lot of hype and was even named to Bruce Feldman's Freak List. Brisker then took the next step as a senior, with five pass breakups and only one missed tackle. His play-style is that of an old-school safety, with the athleticism to have success at the next level. Brisker is a very hard hitter and an elite run defender. He'll play a lot in the box, but has the versatility to be moved around the field. Brisker has starter upside at the next level, and should also be an outstanding special-teams contributor.