Canadian linebacker Jesse Luketa selected by Arizona Cardinals in seventh round of 2022 NFL Draft

Photo: AP/Barry Reeger

Canadian linebacker Jesse Luketa has been drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 256th overall selection in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Ottawa native played twelve games at outside linebacker and defensive end for Penn State University as a senior this past season. He made 61 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and one interception, on his way to being named a third team All-Big Ten selection by the conference’s coaches.

Originally a four-star recruit out of Mercyhurst Prep in Pennsylvania, Luketa spent the first three seasons of his college career as an off-ball linebacker. In 46 career games, he is credited with 143 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, eight pass knockdowns, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Luketa measured in at six-foot-three and 253 pounds at the NFL Combine in and ran a 4.89 forty-yard dash on his first attempt before suffering an apparent leg injury on his second attempt. He rebounded to perform for scouts at Penn State’s pro day three weeks later and posted a 4.27-second short shuttle and 7.29-second three-cone drill, both of which are solid numbers for a player of his size.

Viewed as a positionless mid-round run stopper by most NFL evaluators, Luketa was the lone Canadian prospect invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl all-star game. He recorded two sacks in Mobile, bringing down Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe and North Carolina’s Sam Howell.

Luketa believes he can be “the most disruptive player on the field” at the NFL level given his unique skillset and will now get a chance to prove it in Arizona.