Northwestern Football: Your 2019 NFL Draft Guide


clayton thorson

We’re now exactly one week out from the NFL Draft (our full mock draft is available at this link), but if you’re a Northwestern football fan, you don’t really need to pay attention until the final day. That’s because none of the Wildcats pro prospects are expected to be taken until rounds 4-7 (a week from Saturday) at the earliest.

The three 2019 Scouting Combine participants who represented the Northwestern football program- quarterback Clayton Thorson, cornerback Montre Hartage and linebacker Nate Hall are not projected to be taken on Thursday (round one) or Friday (rounds two and three). We do however, have linebacker Paddy Fisher in the first round of our 2020 mock draft. 

clayton thorson

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that NFL Draft season is also talking season, and that that talking season includes plenty of alternative facts, truthiness and fake news. I say this even as a leading purveyor of NFL mock draft dreck, what you read, hear and see out there mostly crapola.

“This is kind of misinformation season, leading into the draft,” said Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald as spring practice concluded this past weekend.

“It’s always fun for me to watch, how you see all this misinformation come out, planted in the media by teams, to undervalue and overvalue guys, it’s really entertaining to me.”

The only value of content generated during spring football talking/draft speculation season is this- a general ballpark figure of where guys will most likely go. When you see an overall range, those are usually pretty accurate.

pat fitzgerald

Clayton Thorson 2017 NFL Draft stock report

Clayton Thorson 2018 NFL Draft stock report

“I’d draft them,” Fitzgerald said of Northwestern football players’ draft hopes. “I’m biased though. I think our guys did a great job getting themselves prepared.”

For Thorson, he began his career as essentially a game manager kind of QB, as NU was able to win a lot in 2015 with Thorson under center and pretty much nothing going on in the passing game. In 2016, Thorson really emerged, and made a lot of plays as the air attack came alive and wide receiver Austin Carr had a season for the ages.

In 2017 and 2018, Thorson was up and down, and his draft stock never got any higher. In fact, a year ago at this time, he was considered a very strong first round prospect…once again conveying just how useless mock drafts are when they are more than a year ahead of the event.

nfl draft

Thorson has the height and size that NFL teams love, and he’s worked out this month for both the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.

Fitzgerald on Clayton Thorson: “He’ll be drafted. It’s just a matter of where and when. He’s a war daddy. Someone’s gonna get a steal. His best football is ahead of him.” projects him to go in round four, and gives him a back-up/special teams player grade with a player comp of former Notre Dame signal caller DeShone Kizer.

As for Hartage, he’s attracted plenty of attention from NFL scouts over the course of his career in Evanston, and Fitz has consistently compared him to former Wildcat Sherrick McManis, who was taken by the Houston Texans in the fifth round in 2010, and has been with the Chicago Bears since 2012.



The official NFL website gives Hartage a round seven/priority free agent projection with an Eric Murray player comp. Their scouts believe he stands a better than average chance of making a NFL roster. Hall gets a priority free agent grade and “should be in a NFL training camp” says NFL Network.

“They’ll be fine; they both have the ability, the temperament and the skill set to play on Sunday,” said Fitzgerald of Hartage of Hall. “They just need to get the right opportunity.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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