The Northwestern Wildcats have just experienced their roughest season under Pat Fitzgerald. It’s been a brutal year for the Wildcats, who just last year were playing in the Big Ten Championship. This season, the loss of key offensive players, such as QB Clayton Thorson, appear to linger deep in the team. After a 3-9 season, with the last game being a win over Illinois, the Wildcats have a season to gather themselves and get ready for next year. Fortunately for them, there aren’t too many people to talk about in this piece.
LB Paddy Fisher (RS Jr)
Paddy Fisher has not yet declared for the NFL Draft in 2020, but it is a general assumption that he will. He is by far the best prospect on the team and has shown incredible quality throughout the last three seasons as a Wildcat starter. Paddy has collected 315 career tackles in college, and 3 interceptions.
Paddy Fisher and beating blocks as a linebacker 101 pic.twitter.com/nw8Jk0ZWas— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) July 23, 2018
People are going to knock him for his lack of production in the backfield, but that’s not as big of a deal as some people will make it. While he only recorded 20 tackles for loss in his three seasons, he’s an impact around the line of scrimmage and an excellent middle linebacker. Smart, instinctive and Fisher knows how to get off of blocks.
EDGE Joe Gaziano (RS-Sr)
Joe Gaziano had a strong career at Northwestern quietly being one of the best edge guys in the conference. He finishes his collegiate career with 49 tackles for loss and 30 sacks, almost eclipsing double digits twice (as a sophomore and a senior). His 8 forced fumbles are an impressive stat as well. Gaziano has excellent size and length (6’4″ 275 pounds) that takes a little away from his quickness and speed.
Senior DL Joe Graziano from Northwestern is going to be fun to watch this year. Enjoyed his tape from the summer & here's a play from him vs. Walker Little (he missteps). The DL slants and Joey G quickly recognizes opening & clubs outside shoulder. Bends down LOS & makes tackle. pic.twitter.com/RnUFL9rakr— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) September 2, 2019
Gaziano is not so much a first step guy. He has good explosion around the edge, but it’s not where he really wins. Gaziano wins by grinding through the offensive lineman with effort and power, and then unleashes a finesse move when the lineman least expects it. He’s a late day two guy for me, I like him enough to where I would take a shot on him in the third round.