Though many think that Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg is the best man at his position this season, he certainly has his fair share of detractors. In fact, Pro Football Focus gave Hackenberg the lowest grade among all FBS quarterbacks last season.
Rotoworld offered the following assessment when covering the story:
You have seen many analysts say Hackenberg is the best quarterback in the country and has the talent to be the No. 1 pick, but does it matter if those tools are used to produce negative results? There were plenty of issues around Hackenberg last season, include poor offensive line play and possibly questionable coaching. However, Hackenberg’s play did not compensate for those mistakes often enough. He had a major hand in his high sack totals. We are happy to see another season of game action, and these grades are opinion, but it is more than fair to have questions about Hackenberg’s game.
In 2014, Hackenberg threw for 2,977 yards for 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and was sacked 44 times. That’s quite a step back from his freshman campaign, when he had 2,955 pass yards and 20 touchdowns to just 10 picks. This can likely be attributed to having to learn a new system, as his freshman year coach Bill O’Brien departed for the NFL’s Houston Texans and was replaced with former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, but it’s enough of a step back to be a cause for concern in spite of all of the pre-draft hype he’s getting.
Hackenberg could very well bounce back as a junior now that he has a better grasp of Franklin’s system, and his draft stock could end up soaring as a result. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that in 2015, Hackenberg has a lot of work to do to get back in the good graces of both the fans and press, starting with Penn State’s season opener against Temple on September 5.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports