Penn State Football

2 Former Penn State Football Stars Named ‘Biggest Winners’ of NFL Preseason

While Penn State Football is set to host West Virginia this weekend to kick off the 2023 season, a couple of former Nittany Lions are getting set to begin their rookie seasons in the NFL.

In April, six Penn Staters were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

After rookie minicamp and a full preseason of work, two of these former Nittany Lions earned their spot on FanBuzz’s Senior NFL Insider Matt Lombardo’s “10 Biggest Winners of the NFL Preseason” list.

Sean Clifford landed at number six on Lombardo’s “10 Biggest Winners of the NFL Preseason” list as he cemented himself as the backup quarterback on Green Bay’s depth chart to open the 2023 NFL season.

Clifford was selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft by Green Bay, a surprisingly high selection in some fan’s eyes.

However, the experienced Clifford earned his place on Green Bay’s roster and proved himself worthy of this selection with a great preseason. Lombardo notes that “Clifford completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 391 yards with one touchdown to two interceptions, while adding 38 rushing yards” on his way to earn the backup quarterback role for Green Bay.


Brenton Strange landed at number nine on Lombardo’s list after a preseason that saw him post the highest grade among rookie tight ends from Pro Football Focus.

Lombardo notes that Strange landed in the perfect spot after being selected in the third-round of the 2023 NFL Draft by Jacksonville where he can “catch passes from quarterback Trevor Lawrence in head coach Doug Pederson’s tight end-friendly system” and take advantage of “space created over the top by Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk in two tight end sets opposite Evan Engram.”

While Penn State fans may be hyper focused on the opening of the 2023 Penn State season, fans can tune in on Sundays to cheer on former Nittany Lions that have the chance to contribute early for their new teams in the NFL.


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About Author

Robert Casturo

Expertise: College Football, Penn State Football Education: Saint Vincent College, Penn State Law School Location: Washington, DC Experience: Robert Casturo has covered Penn State football for NittanyCentral since 2022. Casturo previously covered Penn State football through a social media presence (@PSU_FB_Thoughts on X) since 2019. Casturo earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College in 2015, where he was a punter for 1 season on the Saint Vincent College football team and worked in the athletic department for 2 years as a student manager. Casturo earned his JD from Penn State Law in 2018 where he was a senior editor of the Penn State Law Review.