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Penn State football: Chop Robinson, Kalen King named PFF players to watch

Two Nittany Lion defenders are already among the nation’s best heading into the 2023 season.



Penn State Football, Kalen King, Chop Robinson, PFF players to watch
Nov 12, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Kalen King (4) tackles Maryland Terrapins wide receiver Jacob Copeland (2) during the third quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Maryland 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

After fielding one of the best defenses in the Big Ten last season, Penn State football is poised for another strong year in 2023. It lost some key pieces to the NFL Draft, but the Nittany Lion defense still returns some of its best stars this fall. Some of these standouts, including Kalen King and Chop Robinson, are already rising up boards for the 2024 NFL Draft. Robinson and King were recently named PFF players to watch for next year’s draft.

Chop Robinson, and Kalen King, named PFF players to watch for the 2024 NFL Draft

Last month, PFF’s Max Chadwick compiled an extensive list of the top defensive players to know at each position for the 2024 NFL Draft. Unsurprisingly, both Chop Robinson and Kalen King were near the top of the list for their respective positions. PFF, who specializes in advanced analytics, has been high on King and Robinson, as they were among the best-advanced stat players in the country last year.

Kalen King led all Nittany Lion defenders with 18 pass breakups last season. The third-team All-Big Ten selection was also second on the team in interceptions (3) and ninth in total tackles (30). “Joey Porter Jr. may have gone 32nd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, but King was Penn State’s true star in the secondary this past season,” Chadwick wrote of King. “In single coverage, the sophomore led all college cornerbacks with a 93.3 grade and an 18.3 passer rating allowed. His 15 forced incompletions in single coverage tied for third among FBS cornerbacks, as well.”

An All-Big Ten honorable selection during his first season in the Penn State football program, Chop Robinson had 10 tackles for loss in 2022, third-most on the team. Chadwick notes that, despite lacking size, Robinson brings relentless explosivity as an edge rusher. “He led all Power Five edge defenders in overall grade (90.6) and pass-rushing grade (92.4) this past season. Robinson’s 23.6% pass-rush win rate ranked sixth among that same group,” Chadwick explained.

While both players put together outstanding sophomore seasons, Robinson and King are expected to step into more prominent roles in their junior years. While Penn State football has many talented defenders, King and Robinson will be expected to lead the way for the Nittany Lions this fall.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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