Scouting the MAC - Northern Illinois

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Northern Illinois has consistently scattered players throughout the draft and will continue to do so in 2019.

The top NIU prospects can be found on defense and start with Sutton Smith, an undersized pass rusher who plays with incredible intensity and explosion. Sutton is effective out of a three-point stance, standing over tackle and making plays up the field or in pursuit.

The team has a trio of talented players in the secondary starting with Albert Smalls, a feisty corner who is best in man coverage. Smalls has next-level size at over six feet tall and solid ball skills. His long speed is a red flag, but his physical nature could help him make it as a dime back.

Jalen Embry is another nice-sized corner whose next-level potential will rest on 40 times.

Junior safety Jawuan Johnson is one to keep an eye on. He’s a physical player best who is between the numbers and makes his presence felt. I could see a team moving him to linebacker based on his size and aggressive nature. He'll be playing at TCU this season after transferring as a graduate student.

I’m told scouts are really high on Max Scharping, the team's left tackle. Scharping is a fundamentally sound blocker with solid athleticism and movement skills. I grade him as a late-rounder, and he must get a lot stronger before he’ll be NFL-ready.

NFL Prospects - Northern Illinois

Grade

Round

Full Name

Pos

Year

#

3.38

6th

Sutton Smith

OLB

4Jr

15

3.35

6th

Albert Smalls

CB

5Sr

1

3.33

6th

Jawuan Johnson

S

5Sr

7

3.28

7th

Max Scharping

T

5Sr

73

3.22

FA

Jalen Embry

CB

5Sr

3

2.95

FA

Luke Shively

C

5Sr

64

2.72

FA

Joshua Corcoran

DE

4Sr

12