Canadian NFL Draft hopeful Jesse Luketa impresses at Penn State pro day

Courtesy: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

After pulling up with an injury during his second forty-yard dash attempt at the NFL Combine, Jesse Luketa has gotten himself back in the Day Two conversation for the NFL Draft with a strong showing at the Penn State University pro day.

The Canadian product weighed in at six-foot-three, 257-pounds and recorded 18 reps of 225-pounds on the bench. Luketa posted a 10-foot broad jump — improving by six inches from the NFL Combine — while his 36.5-inch vertical jump came an inch short of his Combine mark.

The NFL hopeful answered serious questions about his bend and agility, posting an official 4.27 second short shuttle and 7.29 second 3-cone drill. Luketa chose not to run another forty for scouts, instead standing on the time of 4.89 he posted in his first attempt pre-injury in Indianapolis.

Decision makers from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance, with notables including Green Bay Packers’ GM Brian Gutekunst, San Francisco 49ers’ GM John Lynch, and Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy.

Described as a “positionless player” by some analysts, Luketa played 12 games as a senior in 2021 for the Nittany Lions, 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 off-ball linebacker.

Entering the NFL Combine, top NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah dubbed Luketa a potential third-round pick, but the Ottawa-native’s early injury robbed him of a chance to cement his draft stock.

The top-ranked prospect in the 2022 CFL Draft, Luketa believes he can be “the most disruptive defender on the field” in the NFL and his strong pro day showing will be crucial to making talent evaluators believe it too.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.