Paddy Fisher has taken on an important role with Northwestern over the past two years, establishing himself as one of the key cogs in the Wildcats’ defense while anchoring their linebacking group. That presence in Evanston may pay dividends in taking the next step as a football player, according to “way-too-early” mock drafts across the board.
Let’s take a look at where pundits have Fisher sitting as he enters the summer before his junior year.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: 31st to the Los Angeles Rams
Ben Standig, NBC Sports: 24th to the Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Bender, Sporting News: 24th to the Philadelphia Eagles
Fisher is widely regarded as a linebacker that has proven himself with his numbers in college thus far. The Katy, TX native has racked up 227 tackles, eight forced fumbles and two interceptions during his two seasons with NU. He has an impressive nose for the ball and despite questions about athleticism, has clearly placed himself in the top tier of prospects that project to enter the draft in 2020.
Here to tell you that Paddy Fisher is a top-5 LB in this draft class. I want a guy that has a nose for the football, and he offers that. Forces two fumbles on both these reps, showing good lateral agility and range. Effective use of mirroring and hands to work through traffic. pic.twitter.com/HxEZ21hBOW— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) August 29, 2018
Let’s not get to far ahead of ourselves on the hype, though: both Clayton Thorson and Anthony Walker Jr. (a fellow middle linebacker under Fitzgerald) were mocked in the first round of their respective drafts over the past three years. Both ended up falling all the way to the fifth round, though Walker has already had success with the Indianapolis Colts.
Basically, you should take these “way-too-early” predictions with a significant grain of salt if you are a Northwestern fan.
Other 2020 NU draft prospects
While Fisher is certainly the most highly-regarded prospect coming out of Northwestern, there are other players that will have a shot at cracking the draft next year.
-Joe Gaziano: Gaziano has started in each of his season’s with NU, compiling 21 sacks and 103 tackles in his first three active years with the program. Gaziano has also appeared to slim down entering the summer. We’ll see if it pays dividends in the development of his rushing ability.
-Bennett Skowronek: The rising senior’s previous season ended on a sour note due to injuries, but he’s already provided plenty of reason to believe he could have his name called in 2020. Skowronek was the primary receiver for NU last year, notching 45 catches and 562 yards over 12 games and change. Plus, he has one of the most memorable catches in Northwestern history.
-Trae Williams: Another rising senior, the cornerback will have a massive opportunity to prove himself in the 2019-20 season. Williams has garnered three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 10 passes defended thus far in Evanston, and he’ll be one of the most crucial cogs in a transitioning secondary that will have to accommodate the loss of Montre Hartage. A big season is not out of the question, and could potentially see Williams vault himself into draft consideration.