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Christian Hackenberg Uses Pro Day To Help Boost Stock Again


At one time considered to be the best player in this year's draft class, Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg set out to re-ignite interest in his NFL stock at the school's pro day.

Before it seemed essentially a lock that California's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz would be the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, Penn State's Christian Hackenberg was viewed as the best quarterback in this year's group, perhaps even the No. 1 pick taken.

But after a shaky junior year at best – he threw just 16 touchdowns and saw his completion percentage drop to 53.8 percent – Hackenberg has slipped down the quarterback rankings and likely many draft big boards, too.

On Thursday, Hackenberg set out to prove that he's still the same quarterback that could have been taken first overall.

Hackenberg went through a 52-throw session at Penn State's pro day in State College, Penn., completing 44 of them including 21 straight at one point.

Hackenberg also checked in at 6-foot-4, 223 pounds, while also recording a 31-inch vertical jump along with a nine-foot, six-inch broad jump.

"The big progression for me was just maturity and just being able to grow into a leadership role," Hackenberg said at the NFL Combine of his final two seasons in college. "That within itself was something I took a lot of pride in. Was elected a team captain two years in a row my sophomore and junior year. I took a lot of pride in that.I was able to work through adversity. I think adversithy really shapes who you are. Success is easy to roll with. But how you respond to adversity is really huge.

In total during his three seasons, Hackenberg totaled 8,457 passing yards with 48 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.

Seven times during his career his also threw at least three touchdowns in a game.

But just as his junior season saw a dip in production, his final game was one Hackenberg would likely want to forget, as he threw just 139 yards and an interception before succumbing to a shoulder injury.

His greatest fear? Not reaching his full potential.

"Just being able to work on my game for the last eight weeks with Jordan [Palmer] and really improve and make strides in that area and see where my ceiling is and where my potential can take me is really exciting," Hackenberg said. "I just want to be the best player I can be, and whatever I have to do, whatever sacrifices I need to make to get there I'm willing to do it."

Also participating at the school's pro day were defensive linemen Austin Johnson and Carl Nassib.

Nassib, the younger brother of New York Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib, led the country in sacks during his senior season with 15.5 in just 10 games.

He was measured at 6-foot-7, 279 pounds and totaled a 4.84 40-yard dash time. Johnson, meanwhile, weighed in at more than 300 pounds.

The Redskins have been linked to quite a few defensive linemen in mock drafts, although neither Nassib or Johnson – both of whom participated in the Senior Bowl – are expected to go in the first round.

"I've always had dreams of going to the NFL," Nassib said at the NFL Combine. "My older brother is in the NFL and he's a big inspiration for me. So I've always had dreams of playing in the NFL."




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