Zettel and Lucas selected on third day of 2016 NFL Draft

April 30, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State defensive lineman Anthony Zettel and defensive back Jordan Lucas were selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft Saturday afternoon. Zettel was the sixth round pick of the Detroit Lions (No. 202 overall), while Lucas heard his name called just two picks later in the 204th slot by the Miami Dolphins.

Five Nittany Lions have been selected in this year's draft, the most since 2010 when six Penn Staters heard their name called. In the 2010 NFL Draft, Jared Odrick (1st round), Sean Lee (2nd), Navorro Bowman (3rd), Andrew Quarless (5th), Mickey Shuler (7th) and Josh Hull (7th) were selected. The 2016 NFL Draft also marks the 26th time in program history that the Nittany Lions have had at least five draft picks.

On Friday evening, the Tennessee Titans selected defensive tackle Austin Johnson with the 43rd overall pick, the New York Jets picked quarterback Christian Hackenberg with the 51st overall selection and Carl Nassib was the third round selection of the Cleveland Brown with the 65th overall pick.

The Nittany Lions have had at least three players drafted each of the last five years. Penn State had three defensive lineman selected for the first time since Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Haynes, Anthony Adams were selected in the 2003 NFL Draft. With Johnson, Nassib and Zettel's selections, 14 Penn State defensive linemen have been NFL draft choices since 2003.

Penn State's three selections in the first 65 picks of the NFL draft were the three highest selections for the Nittany Lions since the 2003 draft when Jimmy Kennedy (12), Michael Haynes (14), Bryant Johnson (17) and Larry Johnson (27) were all selected in the first round. The Friday selections also marked the 18th time in program history that Penn State has had at least three players selected in the first three rounds and seventh time since 2000.

Penn State has had 38 football student-athlete to be drafted since 2007. A total of 343 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, including 36 in the first round.

Anthony Zettel

A native of West Branch, Michigan, Zettel will have a chance to play for his hometown team. He is the 14th Nittany Lion to be drafted by the Detroit Lions and the first since Derrick Williams was picked in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft.

"We are excited for Anthony to have earned his degree and now have this opportunity with the Lions," Penn State Head Coach James Franklin said. "Anthony has always been willing to sacrifice for the good of the team and that is a trait that will serve him well in the NFL. His unique athleticism and explosiveness make him a very intriguing prospect at a number of positions."

"Anthony is a guy that has maximized his college career," Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer said. "He does a great job with his hands, has unbelievable timing and tremendous balance. He is an exceptional athlete that I expect to do great things at the next level. He was fun to coach and will be fun to watch on Sundays."

Zettel had a stellar career for the Nittany Lions, finishing tied for seventh in Penn State history with Rich McKenzie (1989-92) with 20.0 career sacks and 10th with 38.0 career tackles for loss. As a senior, Zettel was named third team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media after recording 47 tackles, including 11.0 TFL and 4.0 sacks. He also had six pass breakups. Zettel was selected as the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 28) for the first time in his career after recording seven tackles, including 2.5 TFL, and his second career fumble recovery against San Diego State. He was selected as the team's Lions Pride Outstanding Senior Player Award winner for the greatest career contributions to Penn State Football.

In his junior season, Zettel's move from defensive end to defensive tackle paid off as he was selected an Athlon Sports fourth-team All-American and named All-Big Ten first team by the coaches and media, as well as ESPN.com and BTN.com. He was the only FBS player ranked among the national leaders in sacks and interceptions per game in 2014. Zettel became the first Penn State defensive lineman since at least 1959 with at least three interceptions in a season in 2014. Zettel led the team with 17.0 tackles for loss (minus-72) and 8.0 sacks (minus-46). He ranked third in the Big Ten and tied for 24th nationally in tackles for loss at 1.3 per game and was tied for fifth in the Big Ten and 51st nationally in sacks (0.62 per game). Zettel finished the season tied for ninth on the squad with 42 tackles (28 solo).

As a sophomore, Zettel appeared in 12 games, recording 16 tackles (11 solo) with two pass breakups and one interception. He finished second on the team with 4.0 sacks and collected 6.0 tackles for loss. He made more than 35 percent of his tackles behind the line of scrimmage in 2013. In 2012, Zettel saw time in all 12 games, making 15 tackles with 4.0 sacks.

He graduated with a degree in kinesiology in December.

Jordan Lucas

A New Rochelle, New York native, Lucas is the 11th Nittany Lion to be drafted by the Miami Dolphins. He is the first Lion to be picked by the Dolphins since Jared Odrick was the 28th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He will join former teammate Mike Hull, who signed with Miami as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

"I am excited to see Jordan have the chance to continue his football career," Penn State Head Coach James Franklin said. "Jordan was an integral part of our defensive backfield. His combination of size and speed will allow him to play both corner and safety."

"Jordan Lucas will have a successful NFL career," Penn State assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith said. "He is a student of the game that has a tremendous skill set as a defensive back. He's a physical player that tackles and covers man-to-man well. He plays the game with great passion."

Lucas was a reliable member of the defensive backfield during his Penn State career, appearing in 46 games during his career, including 40 consecutive, until an injury sidelined him in November. After shifting from cornerback to safety during the off-season, Lucas finished sixth on the team with 56 total tackles in just nine games as senior. Lucas tallied six games with five or more tackles in 2015. He also registered three pass breakup and three passes defended.

As a junior, Lucas garnered All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades from the league's coaches for the second time in his career and All-Big Ten third team honors from Phil Steele. He finished third on the squad with 58 tackles (37 solo), while adding 2.0 sacks and a team-high nine pass breakups, which tied for 14th in the Big Ten. Lucas made 20 tackles over his final three games of 2014.

In 2013, Lucas earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors from the conference coaches and media. He led the team with three interceptions -- all in Big Ten play -- and 13 pass breakups, while finishing third with 64 total tackles. Lucas ranked third in the Big Ten in passes defended (16) and tied for ninth in forced fumbles (2). He was among six true freshmen to see time in the 2012 season.

There were 27 former Nittany Lions with NFL teams during the 2015 season, again placing Penn State in the top 20 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.

For the 45th time in the Super Bowl's 50-game history, at least one Penn State alumnus was a member of one of the participating teams (19 times in last 21 years). Thirty-eight former Nittany Lions have earned a total of 55 Super Bowl rings, most recently Jordan Norwood with Denver last year. A total of 106 Nittany Lions have been on Super Bowl rosters.

Last Updated May 02, 2016