College football season is officially over, and thus the long, grueling slog of wanting the beloved sport to return to our lives begins.
However, the CFB off-season does provide us the opportunity to speculate about where our favorite ‘Cats may continue their football playing careers. That’s right, it’s time for some NFL Draft talk.
As you would guess, a team that went 3-9 isn’t exactly a hot bed for professional level athletes. In fact, superstar defensive lineman and Northwestern career sack leader Joe Gaziano is the only Wildcat that the pundits expect to have his name called during those three days in late April.
(Of note: I did find a projection that pegged Paddy Fisher as a potential sixth round draft pick, however, that is no longer relevant as the star linebacker has already announced that he is returning for his senior season).
The man we affectionately call “Gaz” has not received the in-depth scouting that the projected first-rounders are getting, but by all accounts, he is a lock to be at least a mid-round pick, after his draft stock shot up massively during his senior season.
In the latest update to their 2020 mock draft, Draftsite projected him as a late-third round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the 104th pick overall.
Back in August of 2019, this same site projected Gaz as the 250th overall pick, not too far away from making him the infamous, “Mr. Irrelevant.” The same type of growth occurred in the protections of Drafttek, who project him as the 19th best prospect in the Big Ten, and the 95th best prospect overall—30 spots higher than where they had initially projected him.
Gaziano is currently prepping for the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl down in St. Petersburg, Florida, and seems to be impressing as always.
It’s hard to predict where he’ll end up being drafted come April. His rise from a fringe potential draftee to likely a second day pick is nothing short of meteoric, and who knows how far he could continue to rise as teams become more familiar with one of the best defensive lineman in Wildcat history.