Penn State Football: Who Is Replacing Every Nittany Lion Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

Tim TolleyContributor IMay 12, 2014

Penn State Football: Who Is Replacing Every Nittany Lion Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    The 2014 NFL draft is behind us, and the Penn State football program has lost some of its most notable players to the highest level of organized football.

    Gone are the record-breaking performances of Allen Robinson along with the veteran leadership and on-field dominance of DaQuan Jones and William V. Campbell Award winner John Urschel.

    There are plenty of players vying for their spots on the current roster, but filling the shoes of college's elite players won't be easy. 

    Which current Nittany Lions have the best shot at stepping up and starring in voids created by the latest crop of NFL rookies?

     

    All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com

Geno Lewis Replaces Allen Robinson

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    After he set the school record for receptions in 2012 and then broke his own record in 2013, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up in the draft to grab Allen Robinson in the second round.

    Accounting for over 46 percent of Penn State's yards through the air last season, "A-Rob" has left some enormous shoes to fill, but redshirt sophomore Geno Lewis may be up to the task.

    Lewis spent the last two years working closely with Robinson and receivers coach Stan Hixon, and he got better as his freshman campaign went on.

    After catching just three passes in the first four games, Lewis grabbed 12 passes in the next eight games, culminating in a 91-yard, two-touchdown breakout performance in the finale against Wisconsin. 

    At 6'1", 199 pounds, Lewis has good size, and the former high school quarterback should be ready to take the next step as a standout receiver. 

    In Penn State's offense, he'll get plenty of opportunities. 

Anthony Zettel Replaces DaQuan Jones

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    DaQuan Jones led the Big Ten in tackles by an interior lineman before being drafted by Ken Whisenhunt and the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the draft.

    While Jones has been lauded for his ability to succeed at either of the tackle spots, his most likely replacement is known for versatility himself.

    Anthony Zettel spent last season in the defensive end rotation, moving inside to tackle occasionally on passing downs, where he'd line up next to Jones. 

    Zettel has since put on significant weight and is penciled in as a starter at defensive end. 

    An explosive burst coupled with a mean streak makes him similar to Jones in both style and position. 

    Expect to see Zettel all over the line this fall, as well as in the backfield of the opposition. If he stays healthy, Zettel could be the next Penn State defensive tackle to hear his name called by an NFL exec. 

Derek Dowrey Replaces John Urschel

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The smartest player in the conferenceor maybe the countryJohn Urschel was a quiet leader on the football field when he wasn't being a math genius off it.

    His combination of intelligence and ability helped him get drafted earlier than expected, with the Ravens selecting him in the fifth round on Saturday. 

    With so much experience, it was rare for Urschel to see something he hadn't seen before, and that helped along the offensive line last season. 

    While Derek Dowrey just moved from defensive tackle to the offensive line a few months ago, his performance in spring camp showed that Urschel's replacement isn't a guy who is easily replaceable, either.

    With incumbent starter Miles Dieffenbach going down to a knee injury, Dowrey looks like a definite starter at one of the guard spots.

    There may be some growing pains as Dowrey learns the finer nuances of playing offense in college, but the 6'3", 323-pound redshirt sophomore has the size and ability to succeed immediately.