Jordan Lucas, DB, Penn State: 2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite its reputation as a defensive powerhouse, Penn State has not produced many NFL-caliber defensive backs as of late. Jordan Lucas has done his best to change that trend. With his size and versatility, Lucas could step into multiple roles at the next level.

The 6’0 200-pound former Nittany Lion made the transition to safety after being a two-year starter at corner back. Statistically speaking, his best season was in 2013. As a sophomore, Lucas accounted for 65 tackles, 4.5 of which were for loss. In addition, he hauled in three interceptions while forcing two fumbles. His numbers took a slight drop in the following two seasons, but he finished his career with 25 passes defended. Lucas also played a key role in the locker room, serving as a team captain during his senior season.


Because of his versatility, Lucas can guard a big, physical receiver, a quick slot receiver or drop back into coverage. He has very good size, which he uses to his advantage by often jamming receivers at the line or laying big hits onto ball-carriers. Lucas is also a very smart defender. He has a knack for the football and does a great job reading the quarterback’s eyes. Take a look at this play during his sophomore campaign against Michigan:

Right off the bat, Lucas recognizes that Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner will throw to the right side of the field. He gets a great jump on the throw and pulls in the pick. While it may not show up on the stat sheet, a review of game-film reveals that his ball-hawking skills have affected many pass attempts.

The move to safety profiled his run-stopping ability as well. With more free-reign, did nice job in pursuit of the running back. Even when not making the tackle, he cut off running lanes and engaged blockers, allowing his teammates to finish off the job.


Jordan’s main weakness is his statistical production. His numbers gradually decreased from his sophomore to senior season, which is something that NFL front offices do not like to see. While there are multiple possibilities for why that happened (coaching changes, position changes and injury), it is something that teams will take note of.

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Not all defensive backs are sure-fire tacklers but those who are tend to play on Sundays. If Lucas wants to make it at the next level, he will need to polish up on wrapping up and bringing his opponent to the ground. With the NFL slowly moving towards spread offenses being the norm, one-on-one tackles in space are becoming even more important.

An unfortunate concern about Jordan is his health. After playing in 40 consecutive games, he sat out against San Diego State this past season due to a shoulder injury. He was back on the field the next week, only to re-injure his shoulder against Northwestern. This caused him to miss the remaining four games of the season, as well as the Senior Bowl. Some may argue that his injury hampered his stats for the 2015 season, which is not wrong. Yet, his shoulder is something that scouts will keep in mind.


In a pass-heavy league, skilled defensive backs are at a premium. With his experience playing multiple positions, Jordan Lucas can fill multiple voids on rosters at the next level. Missing the Senior Bowl really hurt his stock, as it would have been NFL scout’s best chance of seeing him play in person.

As of right now, he is an under-the-radar prospect who most likely won’t get drafted and will get signed as a UDFA. However, a strong pro day can change that and cause him to sneak into the 7th round. Whichever team Lucas inks a deal with will get a great athlete who can bring a lot to the table, both on and off the field.