Christian Hackenburg declared himself eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft after a loss to Georgia in the Tax Slayer Bowl. The Penn State QB injured his shoulder in the second quarter and did not return to the game. The end of the 2015 season couldn’t come soon enough for the 6’4 NFL QB prospect.
Coming into the 2015 college football season hopes were high for Christian Hackenberg and Penn State. In 2014 Nittany Lions’ QB passed for 2977 yards and lit up Big Ten defenses most of the year. Many thought that 2015 would be a breakout year and Hackenburg could work himself in position to be a top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
In Penn State’s first game they wound up getting thumped by Temple and Hackenburg threw for a season low 103 yards. James Franklin’s squad righted the ship and won seven of their last eight before dropping their last three conference games. Hackenburg’s best game was against Maryland where he passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns. However, when he played against quality competition such as Michigan State and Ohio State he stumbled wasn’t very effective.
After ranking 82nd in passing offense Franklin fired his offensive coordinator John Donovan who came over from Vanderbilt with him. Donovan helped turn the Commodores into a nine win team two years in a row but couldn’t get Hackenburg and the Penn State offense going.
Hackenburg’s draft stock has taken a hit this season. Before the season began many experts had him as a top ten pick but now he has been passed by other QBs such as Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook. The Penn State QB is still likely to go in the first round but he could slip to the early second if things don’t break Hackenburg’s away leading up to the draft.
Despite the sub-par season Hackenburg will still get some looks from NFL teams since the quarteback position is valued so highly. He could be a good fit for the Cowboys, where he could sit for a year or two behind Tony Romo and learn the offense. Another good fit would be the Eagles. Hackenburg would be well received by Eagles fans who watched him in college.
It’s going to be a long road to the NFL Draft and Hackenburg’s stock will rise and fall all the way until April where he will finally learn his NFL fate.