Offensive linemen Ryan Bates (left) and Steven Gonzalez carry the Governor’s Victory Bell out of Beaver Stadium after a win over Minnesota in 2016. Bates declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft on Wednesday. ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO
Rule of thumb for aspiring sportswriters: If you have a flight scheduled, something will newsworthy happen on your beat whilst you are in the air.
With Connor McGovern and Shareef Miller already declaring themselves eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft, that number doubled in the amount of time it took for a jet to fly from Orlando to Charlotte.
Offensive tackle Ryan Bates and defensive tackle Kevin Givens both decided to forego their senior seasons and declare for the Draft.
Kevin Givens declares for 2019 NFL draft via Instgram pic.twitter.com/cl51idVv7b
— Penn State Videos (@PSUvids) January 2, 2019
— Ryan Bates (@52batesryan) January 2, 2019
Bates graduated in December, and when a player has his degree in hand, it’s almost an automatic anymore that they’re going to take a long look at the pros after their junior season. He has been a really good, solid hand for the Nittany Lions up front. He has started at left and right tackle the last two seasons, but in the pros, he’s probably more of a guard. Analysts don’t have him rated at an eye-grabbing level right now, but he’s the type of guy who is likely to jump at someone in testing, especially if someone is looking for guard depth who can maybe pitch in on the outside.
It’s pretty much the same deal as Givens, who has experience outside and in. The thing with Givens is his size: He’s 285 pounds, but just 6-foot-1. Not tall enough to be considered a prototypical end, and not heavy enough to be a run-stuffing tackle. But, he has a quick first step, a good motor and he gets to the quarterback. Someone might take a chance on good athleticism for a unique size.
Penn State now has to fill gaping holes up front. They lose arguably their two best offensive linemen today. And Givens and Miller were big parts of what the defensive line was able to accomplish.