It’s been a busy time for Christian Hackenberg, the former Penn State quarterback, filling up his schedule with visits, most recently getting looked at by the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills.
Hackenberg seems to have regressed with every passing year in college, although it might have something to do with him and his head coach for the last two seasons, James Franklin, not getting along too well. Hackenberg was a lot happier, and better, when playing under Bill O’Brien, who left to coach the Houston Texans in the NFL. He also had a better offensive line before Franklin arrived, but there’s so much one player can throw at others and not take some blame for himself.
Hackenberg speaking about Franklin might have put off some teams or hurt his draft stock, but it’s not taking him off the board or something. He was going to be a second day draft pick all along (well, before the 2015 season began he was probably thought of as a first round pick), and he’s staying that way. He’s had accuracy problems, but teams like his arm strength and his leadership skills. Hackenberg has the size and athleticism teams love to see in what they imagine their starting quarterback will be like. However, they are worried he took quite a bit of punishment over the last two years.
It’s interesting to see the teams bringing him in for visits: Teams that have a starting quarterback and probably even a backup they’re pleased with. The Eagles have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. The Redskins have Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. The Bills have Tyrod Taylor. The Jets? As always, no one is quite sure what the hell is going on there, but it’s hard to believe they’re planning on putting Hackenberg in the driver’s seat right away.
Hackenberg, a long long time ago, was projected to be a franchise quarterback for someone, maybe a number one pick. A lot of things have changed for him, Penn State and the way NFL teams view him. Now, he’s a backup prospect at best, and maybe in a few years of sitting behind the right player while working on his flaws (and there are a lot of them), he’ll get his chance to start. He probably belongs in the NFL, but it’s going to be difficult moving up that ladder.