Big Ten Nation, we have some more top of the line analysis of another school in th..."/> Big Ten Nation, we have some more top of the line analysis of another school in th..."/>

Northwestern Wildcats Top NFL Prospects for 2012 and Beyond


Once again via our good friends at Big Ten Nation, we have some more top of the line analysis of another school in the Northwestern Wildcats, a team that has been playing spoiler over the last couple of years. According to Big Ten guru Nick Hlebichuk, this is the Wildcats’ year, and he predicts them to win their division in the Big Ten conference.

Hlebichuk is one of the most knowledgeable Big Ten sports fans you will ever come into contact with, so take his opinion here seriously.  The Wildcats aren’t a team that has a waiting list for their bandwagon, but they are a team that could surprise. For a look at their top NFL prospects going forward, here’s Hlebichuk’s view…

The Northwestern Wildcats have been one of the more consistent teams in the Big Ten over the past few years under head coach Pat Fitzgerald.  With this string of success, more Wildcats should start hearing their name called on draft day in April, so let’s see how much potential this upcoming class has.

7 Dan Persa QB Senior: Persa is an excellent quarterback who is coming off of a major injury.  He is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country, and it can be argued that other than Cam Newton, no player meant more to his respective team then Persa.    He also has some running ability, as he was Northwestern’s leading rusher last season with 519 yards and 9 touchdowns.  He also threw for 2581 yards with an astounding 73.5 percent completion rate.   The 6’1″ senior missed the final three games last season with an injury, so these numbers could be even better had he finished the season.  He also led many clutch drives, most notably against Iowa, where Persa rallied his team from being 10 down to a 4 point victory, with the winning touchdown pass coming in the final 90 seconds of the game.  He reminds me of a Colt McCoy type player- a dual threat quarterback who is also deadly accurate- and should be a 3rd round pick.

11 Jeremy Ebert WR Senior: Ebert has been Northwestern’s best wideout during the past couple years, and it showed in a big way last season.  Ebert had a personal best 62 receptions for 953 yards.  That makes out for a 15.4 average,   he also caught 8 touchdown passes over the course of the season, but NFL teams will want him to be more consistent over the entire season since half of his touchdowns came in the month of September.  He really struggled getting the ball when Persa was out with his injury, having 3 games with less then 4 receptions and no touchdowns.

75 Al Netter OT Senior: The 6’6″ tackle has good height and plenty of experience, which bodes well for his draft chances.  He has started every game since his freshman season, and was an all Big Ten honorable mention last season.  I think he will be in the 4th or 5th round range when it is all said and done, because he has a ton of experience and is probably Northwestern’s second best offensive lineman behind Ben Burkett.

65 Ben Burkett C Senior: Burkett is the best lineman on this Wildcat team hands down.  He has a chance to win the Rimington award this season for being the best center in all of college football, and has a ton of experience with 28 straight starts on his profile.  Being 6’4″, he has good height for a  NFL center and should be drafted in the 3rd or 4th round.

94 Vince Browne DE Senior: Browne had a great 2010 campaign, recording 58 tackles to go along with 7 sacks.  With his 6’5″ frame, he would come into the NFL with great measurables and good stats while at Northwestern to back it up.  He is one of the better ends coming back this season in the Big Ten and it should show on the field this season.  Expect him to go in the 3rd or 4th round.

10 Brian Peters S Senior: Peters was the best player in a weak secondary last season.  He recorded 107 tackles, which is an amazing number for someone who plays behind the front seven of a defense, and he also recorded 3 picks.  Peters is one of the largest safeties that I can remember and he might get moved to linebacker in the NFL if he can put on a little weight.  He is probably the 3rd or 4th best pro prospect on this team and will likely go in the 4th round.

When I look at this team, I see 4 or 5 guys that are sure-fire NFL prospects depending on how their senior seasons go.  This Northwestern team has the experience and the talent to push for the Big Ten crown this season, so they should be fun to watch.