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Bucs selected Northwestern FB Dan Vitale with the No. 197 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

Vitale (6'1/239) was a four-year starter at "superback" for Northwestern, excelling as a receiver with a career line of 135-1,427-11 (10.6 YPR). Despite his fullback profile, Vitale turned heads in Indy with a 4.6-flat forty, 38 1/2-inch vertical, and 10-foot-3 broad jump. His SPARQ score was the second highest among running backs at the Combine. Vitale is a rich man's version of Kyle Juszczyk as a fullback-running back-H-back hybrid.
Apr 30 - 4:52 PM

Packers selected Northwestern DE Dean Lowry with the No. 137 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Lowry (6'6/296) was a three-year starter for the Wildcats, amassing 31.5 career tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks before earning second-team All-Big Ten as a senior. Lowry helped himself in Indy, running 4.87 with a 32 1/2-inch vertical and 30 reps on the bench. A high-energy down lineman, Lowry lacks edge burst and needs to improve his pad level, but he offers five-technique potential with a power game and efficient tackling, also making plays in pursuit. Lowry could eventually become a Jared Crick type.
Apr 30 - 2:03 PM

The Bucs have shown heavy interest in Northwestern FB Dan Vitale, according to beat writer Rick Stroud.

The team put Vitale through a private workout. The Northwestern fullback is one of the more fun evaluations in this class. He is an outstanding athlete, in the 96.6 percentile for NFL players at his position. While lead blockers might be dwindling in the NFL, Vitale's skill set will make it in the big leagues. Lead blocking might be the weakest aspect of his game, but as a receiver he can be a real mismatch. A fourth or fifth round selection makes sense.
Apr 22 - 9:36 AM

Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo believes Northwestern CB Nick VanHoose is an "excellent fit for a zone scheme at the next level."

Pro Football Focus has long been a voice in the wilderness when it comes to VanHoose. Now, it ranks VanHoose as the No. 8 most underrated player in the class. "VanHoose is flying under most radars, but he’s an excellent fit for a zone scheme at the next level," Palazzolo wrote. "He can play 'off' coverage, planting and driving on the ball as well as any cornerback in the class and he got his hands on 19.2 percent of his targeted passes. He’s weak against the run and less effective in man coverage, but in the right scheme, VanHoose can be a very effective player."
Apr 18 - 9:33 PM

Rotoworld's Josh Norris ranks Northwestern DL Dean Lowry as the No. 62 overall prospect in the NFL Draft.

"An outstanding athlete who can with off the snap with explosion," he wrote. "Likely a base defensive end who then moves inside in some situations. Would also fit odd man fronts. Needs to improve on counter moves outside of his motor i.e. restarting his momentum." We are higher on the 6-foot-6, 282-pounder than most.
Source: Rotoworld
Apr 5 - 7:26 PM

Northwestern FB/TE Dan Vitale finished with the second-highest SPARQ score (134.7) of any running back at the Combine.

Vitale whipped the FBs and his 96.6% NFL percentile beat Cal's Daniel Lasco (the top RB with a 140.7 score). Vitale's 4.60 second 40 was faster than 16 DBs, his 30 bench reps topped all but four OL and four DL, his vertical jump would have ranked in the top-five at any position, his 20-yard shuttle was the fastest among the running backs and his 60-yard shuttle was somehow faster than Will Fuller's. "He can run, he’s physical, he’s got a great demeanor, high football IQ, we’ve moved him around, he’s played in the kicking game," former HC Pat Fitzgerald said. "If you’re in an organization, you’re trying to minimize risk, right? And he’s about as low of a risk of a prospect that you’re going to find." Northwestern QB Zach Oliver threw out an interesting comp: "He reminds me of Dallas Clark a little bit, just how he can split out and run routes well but also has the wherewithal to block if he’s asked to." The Pats have met with Vitale.
Mar 9 - 3:28 PM

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio met privately with northwestern FB Dan Vitale after the school's pro day, according to beat writer Ben Volin.

We don't cover every on-campus private meeting teams hold with prospects after pro days, because there are many. However, this one stood out to us. Vitale fits the Patriots' mold extremely well. Athletic, aggressive, versatile prospect who can help in a variety of personnel groupings as well as special teams. He could be an early day three pick. Vitale was easily the most athletic fullback at the NFL Combine.
Mar 9 - 8:34 AM

NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that Northwestern senior FB/TE Dan Vitale "[h]as shown ability to line up in slot, from behind center and all points in -between."

Zierlein noted that Vitale "[r]uns better routes than many of the wide outs in this draft" and is "[a]ble to catch throws in traffic and take the hit." The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder was used far, far more in the passing game than the running game during his time with the Wildcats, catching 33 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns for the 2015 campaign. Zierlein does wonder, though, if versatility alone is enough. "Vitale's tape shows a multi--dimensional player who may fit in with the changing face of hybrid football, but he doesn't really have an element of his game that he can hang his hat on as a true strength by NFL standards." The analyst compares him to former Rice runner James Casey, who was selected by the Texans in the fifth round of the 2009 draft.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 23 - 11:16 PM

Northwestern sophomore RB Solomon Vault will transition to wide receiver for the 2016 campaign.

This process was already kicked off during bowl action, as Vault practiced and played as a receiver in the Outback Bowl against Tennessee. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound sophomore caught three passes for 19 yards in that contest. Said 19 yards led the team, because that's how the Wildcats' offense rolls. Given that Justin Jackson's firmly entrenched as the team's starting tailback, Vault's shift to wideout makes sense on a number of levels.
Source: Inside NU
Feb 23 - 10:14 PM

Though the Shrine Game listed Northwestern DL Dean Lowry as an end, Rotoworld's Josh Norris believes his NFL future is "with a team that utilizes an odd man front."

"He will likely be covered by an edge player in those situations," Norris added. The 6-foot-6, 282-pound Lowry has the frame and motor to conceivably be a fit in any system, but we think he'd be best served predominantly in a 3-4 scheme. Rotoworld is on the scene in Mobile. Stay tuned all week for Shrine Game coverage.
Source: Rotoworld
Jan 18 - 3:59 PM

Northwestern redshirt sophomore LB Anthony Walker was named the Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Wildcats’ win over Illinois.

The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder led the team with a team-high 14 tackles, with 3.5 tackles for loss on Saturday. In 2015, Walker has already had six games, in which he's posted 10 or more tackles, bringing his total on the year to 113 tackles. Walker has been named a Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week three times this season.
Mon, Nov 30, 2015 03:04:00 PM

Northwestern sophomore RB Justin Jackson rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries in Saturday's 24-14 win over Illinois.

Jackson wasn't exploding for long runs left and right--he ultimately averaged 4.6 YPC--but he piled up the yardage on volume. The lone touchdown to his name on Saturday came via a three-yard run with 11:41 remaining in the first half. For the season, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore's rushed for 1,344 yards and four touchdowns. The yardage total is stellar, but his DFS value's been capped by the lack of touchdowns. These things happen when you are an offensive player suiting up for Northwestern.
Sat, Nov 28, 2015 08:34:00 PM

Pro Football Focus ranks Northwestern redshirt senior CB Nick VanHoose as the No. 2 Power 5 corner.

VanHoose is tied for the second-highest Power 5 CB grade with +17.3. His run grade is merely decent, whereas his coverage grades are superb. VanHoose ranks fourth in the country with 10 passes defensed. He'll play in the Shrine Game. The 6-foot, 190-pound VanHoose has been a starter since 2012.
Wed, Nov 25, 2015 08:30:00 PM

Northwestern sophomore RB Justin Jackson rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries in Saturday's 13-7 win over Wisconsin.

Jackson kicked off the scoring in Saturday's affair with Wisconsin via an eight-yard touchdown run with 9:55 remaining in the first quarter. While he wasn't exploding for huge gains left and right--his longest run went for 32 yards and he averaged 4.0 YPC--he was the most effective offensive player on the field for either team. And it wasn't even particularly close. For the season, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore's rushed for 1,172 yards and three touchdowns. He's turned in three consecutive contests of at least 115 yards rushing.
Sat, Nov 21, 2015 06:51:00 PM

Northwestern senior FB/TE Dan Vitale will play in the Senior Bowl.

A third-year starter at "superback," Vitale is a versatile if limited player. The NFL has its uses for smart utility FB/TE/H-back types, so Vitale should be able to carve out a pro niche. He's averaging a career-high 11.5 yards per catch.
Source: Senior Bowl
Wed, Nov 18, 2015 09:48:00 PM


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