With the NFL Draft taking place in Chicago from April 30 through May 2, we'll be catching you up on where some Northwestern prospects may land. Ibraheim Campbell was first up. Next is former USC and Northwestern wide receiver Kyle Prater, who is a big target with a NFL frame but probably isn't quick enough to have his name called.
After an illustrious four years at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Ill., not too far from Evanston, Kyle Prater was ranked the No. 3 player in the Class of 2010 (by Rivals.com). He received interest from top football schools such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC, where he ended up committing.
However, after Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks, Prater redshirted his true freshman season with the Trojans due to injury and was disappointing in the next season, as he struggled through injuries to record a single catch for six yards in 10 games. Then, he made the decision to transfer for his redshirt sophomore season and came back to the Chicago 'burbs in deciding to join Northwestern and Pat Fitzgerald.
In his time in Evanston, Prater didn't do much in his first two seasons due to a mix of injury issues and quarterback inconsistency, but he really broke through in his senior campaign even as his team struggled. Obviously, the carousel at quarterback didn't help him, yet he still led the Wildcats in receiving yards. Over one-fifth of NU's yards through the air were through Prater.
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Getting the ball in Prater's area isn't the problem; the problem is whether he'll catch it or not and whether the defender gets there before him. He had his fair share of drops at NU but his most glaring deficiency is lack of foot speed and agility, which feeds into poor route-running. A 40-time of 4.75 is not promising at all, even for a possession receiver such as Prater. In the NFL, even the big receivers can move quickly, and Prater is just not at that point yet.