Positionless Canadian Jesse Luketa wants to be ‘the most disruptive defender on the field’ in the NFL

Courtesy: AP Photo/AJ Mast

Canadian NFL Draft prospect Jesse Luketa has professional level confidence already.

The Ottawa native was among a select group of 324 players invited to the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis following an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl in February. He wants to be “the most disruptive defender on the field” in the NFL.

“I look at myself as a chess piece, schematically it is hard to game plan with a player who is versatile and can do so many things in that nature,” Luketa said.

“I feel that’s the way the game’s trending, you want a player that’s able to do a multitude of things, so that’s what you’re getting in Jesse Luketa.”

Luketa played 12 games as a senior in 2021 for Penn State University, recording 61 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, half a sack and one interception which he returned for a touchdown. He finished his four-year NCAA career with 151 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, six passed defended and one fumble recovery playing both defensive end and linebacker for the Nittany Lions.

“Being able to go experience the white out as a recruit, see what it was like and just know that I go to Penn State I’m going to have the opportunity to go get a great degree, win championships and go forward with the NFL,” Luketa said.

Courtesy: AP Photo/Barry Reeger

“I wasn’t a guy that was truly interested in going to visit any other institutions, I didn’t take any other official visits. Penn State is somewhere that is always going to be near and dear to me. I learned to be a blue collar Penn Stater, be on time, work hard, sacrifice and compete.”

The 23-year-old is close friends with former Penn State teammate Micah Parsons, who was a first round, 12th overall pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons had a productive rookie season, recording 84 total tackles, 30 quarterback hits, 20 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, three knockdowns, and three forced fumbles. And Luketa wants to replicate that success when he gets into the NFL.

“I’m comfortable playing the defensive end position, linebacker whether it’s inside or outside it doesn’t matter, you’re getting a football player picking me. For me to reach my full potential, I see myself playing outside linebacker,” Luketa said.

The six-foot-two, 261-pound Luketa plans to help continue the record streak of Canadians being selected in the NFL Draft. Since 2011 at least one athlete from north of the border has been chosen in the NFL’s talent grab — 11 straight years and counting — while the Canucks carve out more prominent roles.

“Us Canadian football players we’re everywhere,” Luketa said, “we’re taking the NFL by storm.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.