Penn State NFL draft prospect stock watch: Hunter Nourzad

Every year, there are players who start the NFL draft season flying completely under the media’s radar. Sometimes it’s because they play at a small school, other times it’s because they don’t play a premium position. It can even be due to a late breakout season that gets overlooked.

For Penn State center Hunter Nourzad, he falls into a combination of categories. He started his college career at Cornell of all places, playing mostly left and right tackle before transferring to Penn State. He transitioned to an interior lineman, playing over 1,000 snaps at guard and center combined.

Even after playing very well for a major program for two seasons, he was nowhere to be found on most prospect lists and big boards following the 2023 season. An invite to the East West Shrine Bowl helped put him on the map, and he played well enough there to earn an NFL combine invite.

He didn’t test there or at his pro day due to a leg injury, but just being at the combine seems to have given him a boost in the eyes of the media.


He has finally started showing up in mock drafts as well over the last month or so, with a meteoric rise in ranking according to NFL Mock Draft Database. Draft analysts may have been slow to notice him, but there is plenty to like. His weight and length are well above average for the center position, and that size gives him guard versatility at the next level.

Position flexibility for a later-round lineman often gives them an edge over players in the same range. Teams who need depth at multiple spots are more likely to want Nourzad over a pure guard/center. The question now is high he could end up being selected. The center class is quite impressive this year, but he should be firmly in the tier below the top guys.

I think he will ultimately be an early day-3 pick, very impressive for the former Ivy League player.

Stock: Up

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire