By Barbara Harrison

Few fans were surprised when Penn State junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg announced his intentions to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.

He is physically gifted, but wildly inconsistent, which makes his NFL projection a mystery.

Some NFL scouts are encouraged by his pro upside. Others think he is already damaged goods. And others are still unsure what to make of Hackenberg at the next level.

“Hack is an enigma,” one AFC scout told “He has a power arm, but his hose doesn’t have much direction. I’d love for our coaches to work with him. He’s a good kid, but what’s his value? He probably goes in the first round with those skills. He’ll light it up in shorts.” currently ranks Hackenberg as the No. 7 draft-eligible quarterback, although his upside will push him up the draft board for some teams.

A three-year starter, Hackenberg had a promising freshman campaign in 2013 under the guidance of Bill O’Brien, but his development regressed with the new coaching staff the past two seasons. He didn’t receive much help from his surroundings with questionable play-calling, inconsistent weapons and a leaky offensive line, but Hackenberg deserves plenty of blame as well. He has special arm talent, but the tape shows flawed decision-making, poor pocket presence and streaky accuracy due to unstable mechanics.

There is no question that Hackenberg will benefit from NFL coaching and probably made the correct decision to leave Penn State now. But the game still moves at light speed for him and hasn’t show signs of slowing down. Overall, his physical traits, toughness and arm strength are ideal for the NFL, but Hackenberg’s deficiencies with his touch, placement and decision-making create strong doubt regarding his NFL future.

So while the tape shows a mid-round draft pick, his upside will put Hackenberg in the top-50 picks, and possibly even the first round, like the scout suggested

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