Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It wasn’t too long ago that everyone seemed to believe Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg would be a surefire first-round pick and one of the top signal-callers in the nation.
However, struggles with turnovers and the slow start to his 2015 campaign has everyone second guessing that call. Recently, Rob Rang of CBS Sports went as far as to erase Hackenberg’s name from his Top 32 Big Board.
To Hackenberg’s credit, he has had to learn a new system and the chemistry he had with Bill O’Brien, now with the Texans, seemed to play a big part in his early development.
Now, Hackenberg needs to find his rhythm and tie up the loose ends to ensure his stock doesn’t continue to plummet.
In Week 1 of this season, Hackenberg was sacked ten times — part of that has his fault and an issue he will need to fix with holding onto the ball too long. The good news for Hackenberg, however, is that his line allowed zero sacks in Week 2. The 6-foot-4, 228-pounder also threw for his first touchdown of the year.
The protection will need to hold up if Hackenberg has any chance of improving.
Through two games this season, Hackenberg has thrown for 231 yards, one touchdown and an interception on 25-of-52 passing. That leaves a lot to be desired from the promising talent, but he has plenty of time to turn things around.
If Hackenberg can gain some momentum down the final stretch of the season — where the Nittany Lions will play the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State — then he could find himself back in the first-round discussion.
In the meantime, don’t be surprised if you see the Penn State signal-caller absent from first-round mock drafts.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports