While the 2020 NFL Draft didn’t go quite as planned for Northwestern defensive lineman Joe Gaziano, he still found his way onto an NFL roster.
Just minutes after the league’s first-ever remote draft ended, the Los Angeles Chargers signed Gaziano as an undrafted free agent, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic.
#Chargers signing Northwestern edge rusher Joe Gaziano, per source.— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) April 25, 2020
The Massachusetts native joins six other drafted rookies on the Chargers’ roster this year including Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, Oklahoma inside linebacker Kenneth Murray, UCLA running back Joshua Kelley, Virginia wide receiver Joe Reed, Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman and Ohio State wide receiver K.J. Hill.
He also joins NU’s all-time leading rusher, Justin Jackson, in Los Angeles who was drafted by the Chargers in 2018. This marks the first year without a drafted player for the Wildcats since 2014.
At his pro day in Evanston, the Massachusetts native ran a 5.07 40-yard dash and completed 25 reps of 225 pounds benching.
In his senior season, Gaziano recorded nine sacks, 49 tackles (17 for a loss), three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two safeties and a blocked kick. He leaves Northwestern as the program record-holder in sacks with 30 and ranks third all-time in that category in Big Ten record books behind four-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan and second-overall pick Chase Young.
Gaziano compiled 48.5 TFLs and 10 forced fumbles during his four-year career. Four Wildcats — Jordan Thompson, Blake Hance, Montre Hartage and Nate Hall — were signed as UDFAs in 2019.
If he makes the team this offseason, the Chargers’ new home, SoFi Stadium, might just be an upgrade from Ryan Field.