PJ Mustipher 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
- Brother, Sam, is a center for the Chicago Bears
- Prominent high school wrestler; named an All-American twice at the high school level
- Suffered season-ending left knee injury in October of 2021
- Scheme tendencies: Even front, gap control principles, variety of coverage shells
- 2022 projected role: Starting DT
Pros: PJ Mustipher offers a prototypical build for the interior defensive line and has plenty of physical tools at his disposal that is worth monitoring entering his second senior year of eligibility with the program. Mustipher was once upon a time a highly-prized recruit, but his development at Penn State has led him into a role as a bigger-bodied defender up front. He has plenty of length and showcases admirable hustle to stay involved in plays even after they’ve worked out of the backfield—you’ll get his best effort on every snap. He’s done well to maintain his athleticism despite putting on pounds since his arrival in Happy Valley, too. Mustipher’s high school recruiting profile listed him at 305 pounds and he’s now listed at around 330 pounds. You wouldn’t guess it by watching him on the hoof.
Cons: PJ Mustipher’s size and stature have yet to lead to consistent play and leverage in the trenches—he’s been walled off from gaps on too many occasions to ignore and needs to be more persistent with his pad level to ensure he’s not so easily rooted out of gaps. I didn’t see a great deal of appeal as a gap-penetration style defender, either—there were some fleeting flashes but I get the sense that he’s best served as a gap-control fit in an NFL system. That valuation is tapered considerably given the points of emphasis in today’s game. And while Mustipher is a prospect with a small sample size as a starter, he was a big part of the Lions’ defensive front rotation going all the way back to 2019 as well, meaning he’s not necessarily as raw as the surface might indicate. Of course, his recovery from October 2021 knee surgery looms as an unknown entering the 2022 season as well.
PJ Mustipher NFL Draft Scouting Report by Kyle Crabbs