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What are the odds? Something crazy happened for three Lions on final day of NFL draft

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Shaka Toney

Shaka Toney and some of his Penn State teammates waited a long, long time to hear their names called in the NFL draft Saturday, then something absolutely bonkers happened within a span of a few minutes.

This graphic from ESPN says it all:

ESPN graphic

On three consecutive picks, deep into the draft and nearly at the end in the seventh round, three Penn State players were selected in a row.

Having three guys in a row picked from the same school that deep in the draft boarders on the realm of being unbelievable, from a mathematical standpoint.

The odds against that happening are AT LEAST 3.7 billion to 1, according to a local math teacher we contacted, Chris Strawmier from Altoona Area High School. He used some basic probability calculations to come up with that number, while conceding there are many other unknown variables that, if included, likely would make the figure significantly higher.

For comparison, the odds of winning a lottery jackpot are about 300 million to 1.

Toney, considered the next most likely PSU player drafted after the big three — Micah Parsons, Jayson Oweh and Pat Freiermuth — surely had to be disappointed about slipping all the way to the end of the seventh round. Some projections had Toney perhaps going as high as the fourth round.

This is what Toney, a first-team all-Big Ten selection this past season, tweeted as he was waiting for his name to be called:

He wound up going to the Washington Football Team with the 246th pick, so at least he will have a chance to make a mark with a team that drafted him.

“Shaka Toney is a very smart football player,” PSU defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said in a school release. “The Washington Football Team is getting a player that’s going to understand the entire defense, he’ll be able to get guys lined up and he is a really good pass rusher. He plays with his hands, he can rush with speed, he can rush with power and he has an assortment of moves that he is really good at.”

Not long after the WFT selected Toney, the Arizona Cardinals picked PSU offensive lineman Michal Menet with the very next pick, No. 247.

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“Michal is a smart, athletic football player who brings value as a guy who can play multiple positions as an interior offensive lineman,” James Franklin said in a school release. “He was voted a two-time team captain by his teammates and was a two-time all-Big Ten selection.”

And again, just moments later with the very next pick, PSU offensive lineman Will Fries was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 248th pick.

“Will Fries has made so many contributions to this program and was a great mentor to the younger guys in our position room,” Penn State O-line coach Phil Trautwein said in a school release. “His versatility and ability to play any position will bode well for him in the NFL.”

Safety Lamont Wade did not get selected in the draft, but he might have had something even better happen for his career. Rather than going to just any team in the seventh round, the Clairton, Pa., native signed an undrafted free agent deal with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.

It would be a storybook ending for Wade if he can catch on with the Steelers and play in the NFL near his hometown. Wade obviously will be using it as motivation that he didn’t get drafted, as represented in this tweet:

“When it comes to the game and outside the game, Lamont is one of the smartest players I’ve coached,” PSU cornerbacks coach Terry Smith said in a team statement. “He’s a physical tackler and plays with grit, toughness and relentless effort.”

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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