Penn State Football

NFL Draft 2023: Penn State QB Sean Clifford Scouting Report for Green Bay Packers Pick

The Green Bay Packers selected former Penn State Football quarterback Sean Clifford in the fifth-round of the 2023 NFL Draft, in a bit of a surprising move, adding depth behind Jordan Love. 

Prior to the draft, the Packers showed some significant interest in Clifford, hosting the former Nittany Lions’ starter for an official top-30 visit in Green Bay.

Clifford departs Happy Valley, following a 2,822 yard 2022 campaign with 24 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, leading Penn State Football to the Rose Bowl, where he offered arguably the finest performance of his collegiate career.

Against Utah’s stout defense, Clifford completed 16-of-21 passes for 120 yards with a pair of touchdowns, in the Lions’ 35-21 win over the Utes.

Here are scouting reports of new Packers quarterback Sean Clifford:


The 2016 Elite 11 finalist and top-five pro-style passer recruit nationally out of Ohio played in four games as a redshirt freshman in 2018 (5-7-71.4%, 195 yards, two TDs). Clifford took over as the Penn State starter in 2019, receiving honorable mention All-Big Ten notice (189-319-59.2%, 2,654 yards, 23 TDs, seven INTs passing; 116-402-3.5, five TDs rushing). He started eight of nine games in 2020 (152-251-60.6%, 1,883 yards, 16 TDs, nine INTs passing; 99-335-3.4, three TDs rushing), though he split time with Will Levis (who transferred to Kentucky after the season). His brother, Liam, signed to play receiver at Penn State in 2021. Clifford started all 13 games in 2021, garnering honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference honors (261-428-61.0%, 3,107 yards, 21 TDs, eight INTs passing; 99-163-1.6, two TDs rushing). He was also a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy (also known as the Academic Heisman). Clifford became Penn State’s second four-time team captain in 2022, receiving honorable mention all-conference honors again by starting all 13 games (226-351-64.4%, 2,822 yards, 24 TDs, seven INTs, 69-176-2.6, five TDs rushing). He was the Rose Bowl Offensive MVP (16-21-76.2%, 279 yards, two TDs) as well as a finalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award. Clifford set several Penn State career records, including passing yards (10,661) and yards of total offense (11,734). — by Chad Reuter

Clifford isn’t a liability in terms of talent, either. He logged a 4.62 40-yard dash and a 6.83 three-cone at his pro day — both very good numbers. He’s a good athlete, but Clifford doesn’t have the talent to elevate a unit. His creation capacity is visibly non-elite, and his arm is close to average. Additionally, he’s not quite at the level with his processing, decision-making, and accuracy to consistently counteract that.

In spite of all this, Clifford has a couple of very strong operational qualities that could solidify his projection. He has very solid mechanics in structure. And he’s quietly one of the better pocket operators in the class. He’s poised, composed climbing through lanes, quick to sense pressure, and aware of his outlets even when pressure bears down.

Sports Illustrated:

Clifford is an athletic quarterback who can play in a read-option system but doesn’t display any high-level arm talent to succeed in the league as a quarterback. He is only athletically inclined for the quarterback position and therefore wouldn’t be able to change positions in the league.

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