K.J. Hamler back with a purpose at Broncos camp

KJ Hamler’s willingness to be open about mental roadblocks and strains is showing leadership in a different way in Broncos camp.

Penn State has been sending receivers to the NFL like clockwork for several years now. One of the players to get sent in recent times is [autotag]K.J. Hamler[/autotag].

Hamler was selected in the second round by the Denver Broncos in the 2020 NFL draft. After a breakout junior season and a draft process that was interrupted by COVID-19, Hamler still found himself in a good spot. The Broncos had a deep and talented receiver room when he arrived, including former Nittany Lion Daesean Hamilton. As a rookie, he saw a limited role but was set for a breakout second season in the league.

In week three, however, he tore his ACL for the second time in his football career. After a year of rehab, he is now set for the breakout campaign he was destined for.

Hamler discussed the other day at Broncos camp how he has overcome not just physical issues but mental ones as well. He talked about being in a very “dark place” after the injury. Despite all that he says he found his way out of it.

“God gave me the strength to get out of this hole…He knew I was strong enough to get through it,” Hamler said this week as he returned to Brocnos training camp. “I didn’t feel like I was at the time… I’m proud of myself, and I know my grandmother is proud.”

The Denver Broncos receiving room is still crowded but Hamler is working his way up the depth chart now and has a good quarterback behind him. The Broncos notably updated the quarterback position by acquiring star passer Russell Wilson. Follow that up with his teammate Tim Patrick who was competing him for a spot on the depth chart going down and now Hamler sits for his breakout to happen.

Winning a spot by injury is never how you want to get things but in the NFL it is next man up. For Russell Wilson, he loves to include all his receivers who have snaps in the passing attack. Hamler has a skillset that no one else on the team does and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett can use that to gameplan around him.

No matter what, Hamler making his way back is going to be a win for him and the Broncos. Going back to his Penn State days, he has always put others first. Now it seems he has put himself first and he is finally in a good place and ready to succeed.

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PSU in the NFL: KJ Hamler opens up about mental health in return to Broncos practice

Former Penn State receiver KJ Hamler opened up about his mental health in his journey back to the football field

The 2021 season was brought to a premature end for former Penn State wide receiver [autotag]KJ Hamler[/autotag] last fall. The Denver Broncos receiver suffered a torn ACL that required multiple surgeries in the offseason, but the Broncos removed Hamler from the team’s physically unable to perform list. That meant Hamler could officially return to the practice field for the Broncos, and so he did.

“He’s been grinding, and he’s been working so hard. It was just one of those things where it seemed like it was the right time,” Broncos head coach Nathanial Hackett said Monday. “We all agreed on that and brought him out so that he can do the individual and slowly work him back into practice. There is still a while until we get him into some team reps. [We’ll] also let him do some of those walkthroughs so that he can put the [dry erase] board away. We’re excited to have him out.”

Hamler also took some time to meet with the media upon his return to the practice field during Broncos training camp, giving him an opportunity to share some words of inspiration for those who are dealing with stressful situations of their own, because Hamler says he went through some tough emotional strain since his ACL injury.

“At one point I didn’t want to be here,” Hamler explained to the media at Broncos training camp on Monday. “I didn’t want to be in this world.”

Hamler had multiple surgeries since a early-season injury last season, and he and his family have since dealt with the passing of his grandmother.

“The love of my life passed, my grandmother, so that was the toughest thing,” Hamler said. “That was on my back for a while. I wish I never did it by myself.”

The stress took a toll on Hamler, who says his faith helped pull him through the tough times and emotional strain as he worked to get back on the football field.

Hamler took to Twitter to share those thoughts of appreciation after practice on Monday.

Hamler’s willingness to open up about his own mental health issues is great to see and will hopefully allow others the ability to open up about their own mental health concerns. As Hamler noted in his press conference comments, he feels he is more vulnerable than ever even after getting past some mental roadblocks. Here’s hoping he continues to thrive and have a successful season on the NFL field this fall.

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What have former Penn State offensive players been rated in recent Madden games?

Here is a look at the past three years’ worth of Madden NFL ratings for some former Penn State offensive stars.

As Madden ratings start to come out for the 2023 console game, a few notable former Penn State players have been rated, headlined by second-year Cowboys linebacker [autotag]Micah Parsons[/autotag], who received an 88-overall rating.

As we sit back and wait for more Madden 23 ratings to be released, let’s take a look back at the previous Madden ratings of the past few years from Penn State offensive players.

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Madden NFL ratings for Penn State’s rookie class are here

What are the Madden NFL rating for rookies from Penn State in 2022?

The release of the Madden NFL franchise each and every year is greeted with both excitement and disdain it appears. Excitement over the new game with plenty of updates but disdain with the ratings at launch. This year more than ever have we seen Madden ratings in the news and for good reason.

This year’s rookie class out of Penn State is deeper than usual which means we have more traits and ratings to look at. The round a player is selected on usually plays a big part in his rating as well as his position.

At the top of the list will be Jahan Dotson after being the first selected, the rest of the order could be any which way. Enjoy where your Penn State Nittany Lions are in this year’s Madden game.

PHOTOS: Penn State rookies working through first training camp

Check out these images of former Penn State players getting work done in their first NFL training camps.

NFL training camps are in full swing which means that this year’s rookie class is getting it’s first taste of the NFL. No better time especially given the heat wave the entire country is facing but the sweat they pour in camp will just make them better players and further impress the staffs that selected them in April.

On social media we have seen several big plays already being made by [autotag]Jahan Dotson[/autotag] with his new team the Washington Commanders. Reports everywhere else are also glowing of [autotag]Arnold Ebiketie[/autotag] with Atlanta and [autotag]Brandon Smith[/autotag] with Carolina.

As the training camp goes on and we see more and more of these guys, especially in preseason games, why not get a quick first glimpse. Some early images from NFL training camps of the 2022 NFL draft class that James Franklin and his staff produced.

Jaquan Brisker signs rookie contract with Chicago Bears

Jaquan Brisker is the last Penn State player drafted in 2022 NFL draft to sign his rookie contract.

As NFL training camps prepare to get going, former Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker has finally put pen to paper on his rookie contract. The Chicago Bears announced the franchise has officially signed Brisker, a second-round pick of the NFC North team in the 2022 NFL draft last spring.

By signing his contract on Tuesday, Brisker is now eligible to attend training camp on Wednesday, a few days after the rest of Chicago’s rookies and quarterbacks got started with camp. Brisker was the final draft pick of the Bears to sign his rookie contract.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Brisker’s contract is a four-year deal, a standard time length for NFL rookie deals. Brisker’s contract is reportedly valued at $7.9 million with a base salary in 2022 of $705,000.

With Briskwr signing his rookie contract, every player form Penn State that was selected in the 2022 NFL draft has officially been signed for the upcoming season.

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Draft Network says Yetur Gross-Matos could be a breakout player in 2022

The Draft Network is expecting a breakout season from Yetur Gross-Matos with the Carolina Panthers.

The Carolina Panthers certainly have a bit of a Penn State flavor going for it. Not only is the head coach a former Nittany Lion in [autotag]Matt Rhule[/autotag], but the team just drafted Penn State linebacker [autotag]Brandon Smith[/autotag] in the 2022 NFL draft to bring a little bit of Linebacker-U to the franchise. But it is another former Nittany Lion who could be lining up for a potential breakout season in 2022.

[autotag]Yetur Gross-Matos[/autotag] was recently profiled by The Draft Network with a suggestion that offseason roster changes have paved a way for Gross-Matos to be a Week 1 starter for the Panthers, setting him up for his best season yet at the next level.

With Haason Reddick leaving Carolina to join the Philadelphia Eagles, Gross-Matos is expected to step into the starting role on the Panthers’ defensive line on the end. And that’s just one of the reasons The Draft Network is appearing high on Gross-Matos going into the 2022 NFL season. Playing opposite of Pro Bowl defensive end Brian Burns will likely lead to opportunities for Gross-Matos to bring pressure as opposing offenses focus more on Burns.

From The Draft Network;

If the extra snaps alone weren’t enough, the third-year edge rusher will be pressuring quarterbacks alongside Burns, a 2021 Pro Bowler. Burns will undoubtedly draw extra attention on one side of the line after a year in which he recorded nine sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, and four pass deflections. For Gross-Matos, playing opposite Burns should provide plenty of opportunities to succeed, especially for an edge rusher who has already shown flashes of potential facing an increased role in the defense. Just look at Reddick’s 2021 season, which featured 11 sacks and the eighth-best pass-rush win rate (23 percent) of all NFL edge rushers.

The Draft Network also suggests Carolina’s overall defensive strengths in the secondary should allow for more time to make a play behind the line of scrimmage. As opposing quarterbacks are trying to keep plays alive to find an open receiver, Gross-Matos may get a few more chances to make a play. Every second in the NFL can be a big difference, and the longer a quarterback holds on to the football, the more chances Gross-Matos will have to make a play.

More from The Draft Network;

Putting all those factors together for a young edge rusher that has already shown some nice flashes of potential should mean the third-year defender experiences a nice breakout season for the Panthers. If he can stay healthy all year after a couple of ankle injuries held him back in his first two years, 2022 could be a career year.

Gross-Matos was a second-round pick of the Panthers in the 2020 NFL draft. The former two-time First-team All-Big Ten player in 2018 and 2019 has recorded 52 tackles with six sacks in his first two seasons in the NFL. He has appeared in 26 games with nine career starts entering the 2022 season.

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LOOK: Saquon Barkley shows off New York Giants throwback uniform for 2022

LOOK: Saquon Barkley teams up with Lawrence Taylor to reveal New York Giants throwback uniform for 2022

NFL teams are rolling out some fresh new alternate looks for the upcoming season, thus taking advantage of the NFL relaxing the uniform code to allow for some more unique designs and looks to look forward to. The New York Giants are keeping things pretty simple with their alternate look for the 2022 season by going with a more traditional throwback option.

And who better to show off that fresh new throwback than running back [autotag]Saquon Barkley[/autotag]?

Barkley showed off the alternate uniform the Giants will wear on his Twitter account on Wednesday, generating plenty of buzz and reaction about the new Giants uniform.

The Giants also featured the former Penn State running back in a short promo video for the new uniform on the team’s official Twitter account. The video co-stars one of the all-time greats in Giants franchise history, Lawrence Taylor, who hands Barkley his new jersey.

It is hard not to like what the Giants have done with their alternate look, which is especially difficult for this particular writer to say given my personal fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles (please show us the kelly green alternates soon!). But the Giants got this look right and their fans should be excited to see how it looks on the field once again.

The lighter shade of blue with the traditional block numbers outlined in red is completed with matching shoulder stripes on the edge of the sleeves. The neckline also mimics the tripe-stripe pattern quite nicely for the true authentic look the Giants sported in their earlier Super Bowl glory days.

The Giants will wear these alternate looks for home games against [autotag]Jaquan Brisker[/autotag] and the Chicago Bears on October 2 and against [autotag]Jahan Dotson[/autotag] and the Washington Commanders on December 4.

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Jahan Dotson compares James Franklin and Ron Rivera

Former Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson says James Franklin and Ron Rivera are similar in many ways.

Former Penn State wide receiver [autotag]Jahan Dotson[/autotag] is finding himself making a fairly smooth transition to the NFL. The first-round pick of the Washington Commanders says his move to the NFL is being helped by guidance from his new head coach with Washington, Ron Rivera. And according to Dotson, Rivera has a similar approach to football and life as his former head coach at Penn State, [autotag]James Franklin[/autotag].

“There are a lot of similarities,” Dotson said, according to Sports Illustrated. “If there was an opportunity that we had to change our lives, coach Franklin would be all for it. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to play for two guys like that.”

Dotson has already made a good first impression on his new head coach as his NFL carer begins. After a rookie camp following the draft, Rivera spoke about his skill and preparedness for the next level.

“Very precise route runner, excellent hands, very sharp, very smart young man, hard worker,” Rivera told an ESPN writer in June. “[Has] done all the things you need to do to feel good about (him).”

Dotson was the No. 16 overall pick of Washington in the 2022 NFL draft. He signed his rookie contract for four years and a fully guaranteed $15,048,358 with an option for a fifth year.

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Jahan Dotson brings immediate impact to Washington’s offense

Expect Jahan Dotson to have an immediate impact with the Washington Commanders.

As we near closer to NFL preseason, there are several Penn State rookies to keep an eye on. One of them is wide receiver [autotag]Jahan Dotson[/autotag]. Dotson was selected by the Washington Commanders with the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has already turned heads in camp and is in a perfect situation to succeed.

This has been mentioned multiple times but Dotson will be so much better in a WR2 position and he’ll get to play next to Terry McLaurin, who recently signed a three-year extension worth $71 million, and Curtis Samuel.

Dotson put himself on the map in the 2020 season at Penn State, after [autotag]KJ Hamler[/autotag] departed for the NFL. As mentioned in his draft profile, one trait separating him from several rookie wide receivers in this class is his route running. In his past two seasons with the Nittany Lions, Dotson really developed into a more complex route runner with an expanded route tree. Dotson’s speed will also help Washington to really open up that offense. He can be a deep threat, but where Dotson really excelled at was his short routes and his elusiveness. Dotson’s speed after the catch is another trait that will help Washington’s offense.

Outside of McLaurin, there really isn’t anyone that can be as consistent with their hands as Dotson can be.

Washington’s receiver room has plenty to prove, with Curtis Samuel playing in just five games in 2021. In 2021, Dotson earned a PFF grade of 87.5 after just two dropped passes out of his 138 targets.

McLaurin finished with over 1,000 receiving yards. Their second best behind him was J.D. McKissic with 397 yards. Let me repeat that. 397 yards. Yes, Samuel was hurt for much of the season, playing in just five games. Before last year, he has been fairly reliable and has been healthy much of his career thus far. However, his best season came in 2020, but he caught just three touchdowns passes.

Samuel also has a catch radius that ranks him 54th in the NFL. With Samuel playing the slot in 2022 and Dotson moving into that WR2 spot, Washington’s wide receiver core is promising.

They have the depth, but much of it is unproven. As mentioned, Washington’s wide receiver room has plenty to prove this season. Not that it’s a red flag, but Dotson isn’t overly physical after the catch. He does rely a bit too much on his speed. People will knock players for being too light, but a good number of them have played their way around it. DeVonta Smith is a perfect example.

Washington has the speed and the talent in their wide receiver room. They just need players that can be more consistent like McLaurin.

Dotson is certainly capable of being a number one option. He did it at Penn State with a struggling quarterback and an offense that saw it’s ups and downs in 2021. However, him being in Washington and playing alongside McLaurin will help his game immensely because he won’t be under as much pressure to flourish as the “leading guy” in their wide receiver room.

Washington was in desperate help of building their wide receiver room, and Dotson is set up in a nice position to succeed. McLaurin did nothing but improve his game every year since he has entered the league. Dotson now has a good chance to do the same.

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