Scouting the Big Ten: Northwestern

nfl's picture

Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Year after year the Wildcats come into the season underrated, then go on to surprise people. That’s exactly how I feel about their top senior prospects -- underrated players who will surprise.

Northwestern has a pair of senior prospects graded anywhere from late-second day to mid-third day, and both are NFL prospects I love.

The best way to define safety Godwin Igwebuike is, plainly stated, he’s a damn good football player.

Igwebuike is constantly making positive plays all over the field and almost never commits a mental mistake. He’s a tough run defender with outstanding ball skills who is very effective covering the pass facing the action. Though under 6-feet tall, he packs a wallop at just about 215 pounds and plays smart, tough football. I don’t think he’ll test all that well and isn’t the type of athlete who’ll run in the low-4.4s, yet I firmly believe Igwebuike has the skills to be a starting safety in the NFL for a long time to come.

Running back Justin Jackson is a similar type of prospect on the other side of the ball -- a terrific football player who won’t wow anyone with athletic skills.

Jackson is an instinctive ball carrier with great vision who does a great job using blocks. I don’t project him as a feature runner on Sunday, rather someone who will be a very good situational change-of-pace back.

Presently I grade both Igwebuike as a second-round choice and feel Jackson is more fifth-round value.