Local college spotlight from the NFL Scouting Combine:
The joy of the NFL Scouting Combine, and the NFL Draft after that, is the speculation. Name a player, pretty much any player, and someone will have them tied to a particular NFL team for one reason or another. In some instances there is logic behind it, in some it's a fun guessing game that keeps readers and viewers tuned in.
And while many draft experts are trying to do that with Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg, connecting him with his former college coach and current Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien, he said being at the Combine is about doing his best to impress all 32 NFL teams.
"I am here just trying to be the best prospect I can be and impress as many football teams as I can," said Hackenberg. "I want to come out and be able to compete. It's a great venue to be able to run, jump, throw the football, meet with teams and get to know people on a personal level, GMs, decision makers. I think that is great. For us to be able to get out in front of people like that, I think that is great. That is what I am most excited about.
"I just want to be the best player I can be. Whatever I have to do, the steps I have to make, and the sacrifices I have to make in order to make sure I get there. I am willing to do it. That is my mindset going into it. I just want to be the best football player I can be and help whatever team I land at win as many games as possible."
Hackenberg played for O'Brien his freshman season with the Nittany Lions, finishing the year with 231 completions for 2,955 yards and a career-high 20 touchdown passes.
"I had an accelerated learning curve. I didn't get to early-enroll," said Hackenberg. "Had a great bunch of guys around who had been in the system. They definitely helped bring me along. It was a great experience overall for me. The system fit great and I had a great opportunity to come in and play and throw to a guy like Allen Robinson. I had a lot of people around me who made it a good transition for me and allowed me to grow and own the offense."
Penn State ran a pro-style offense that year, which looking back was perfect for the young quarterback.
"Having that base, playing in that system was huge," said Hackenberg. "Talking terminology-wise, the tape that I watched, and things that I had access to. Having that at 18, having all of those tools available and being able to tap those resources really helped me develop a good base in terms of football knowledge, defensive knowledge."
The 2016 Steelers Fan Blitz presented by Xfinity will be held at Heinz Field on Saturday, April 30. For ticket information and details click on Steelers Fan Blitz.