UNIVERSITY (WTAJ) — For the first time since 2011, Penn State failed to have a receiver finish in the top-10 in the Big Ten in receiving yards, still Penn State sends two to this month’s NFL Draft.
Good players with flashes, Mitch Tinsley and Parker Washington sat in the back seat to a Nittany Lions rushing attack that defined the Rose Bowl champions. Tinsley finished 51 receptions, 577 yards and five touchdowns, while Washington caught 46 passes, for 611 yards and two scores. Collectively the duo failed to live up to lofty expectations.
“I think they’re complementary players in an offense. They can be very good complementary players in the offense, but that’s really where to me, that’s where the conversation with them starts,” said Blue White Illustrated film analyst Thomas Frank Carr.
Tinsley joined Penn State last winter, a Western Kentucky transfer that recorded more than 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. While Tinsley didn’t thrive in the same manner in Happy Valley, he still believes he proved what he came to prove.
“Being able to play on this platform and be able to play in the Big Ten, you know, really showcase everybody that what I did at Western, it wasn’t a fluke and that I’m really I’m a great player and I can play with the best of the best,” he said following his Penn State Pro Day.
While Tinsley had a great showing at pro day, his poor showing during the combine highlighted the biggest criticism in his game, his physical traits. Just 6-foot-1, he ran 4.6 40-yard dash in Indy.
“There’s so many different ways that you can be great at the position and still not be the prototype of what everybody thinks. So you can have a really small guy that is fast and electric and elusive. You can have a really big guy who isn’t as fast but is dominating physically,” said Carr. “And then you got guys like Mitchell Tinsley that can win with separation, agility, intelligence, understanding, leverage and position, understanding what coverage is coming, and then, you know, being a good zone beater.”
The book on Washington isn’t a lot different. After playing a strong secondary role to Jahan Dotson over the past few years, Washington didn’t standout as Penn State’s top receiver. Washington missed the final three games with an ankle injury and didn’t perform during the combine or pro day.
“It’s not just the film. It’s the tools, what you bring to the table in the NFL. And you if you have questions about those, you have to prove that you are the athlete that we want you to be. And he wasn’t able to do that,” said Carr. “So a guy that has questions in his profile, there are things that needed to be addressed and he wasn’t able to address those.”
Despite the injury, Washington left Penn State with two years of eligibility. He said at pro day that he expected to be ready to return to the field by the end of April.
Last season Washington took Jahan Dotson in the first round last year, becoming the Nittany Lions’ first offensive first round pick since Saquon Barkley. Projections place Washington in the 3-5th rounds, while Tinsley is projected to sign as undrafted free agent.