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Penn State defensive players with the most upside: 5-1

This week, we’re ranking the top ten Penn State football players on each side of the ball with attainable upside. The defensive list is interesting because it speaks to the difference between Penn State’s two sides of the team. On offense, there are numerous players with untapped potential who could realistically take a step this year. 
But defensively, many of the team’s starters are veteran players with an established understanding of what they are. There certainly are areas where the defense can take steps, but our list of ten is a bit of a stretch. 
As a reminder, we’re not going strictly by raw talent. Unlike previous iterations of this list, we’re only ranking players who can realistically contribute this year, so freshmen like Liam Andrews, T.A. Cunningham, Dejuan Lane, or Mylachi Williams aren’t under consideration today. Here are our criteria.