At long last, the NFL Draft is finally here! And unlike years past, Northwestern has two studs projected to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in Rashawn Slater and Greg Newsome II. With the long-awaited night just one day away, Inside NU talked to NFL Draft expert Dante Collinelli, asking him several questions about those two stars and the rest of the potentially pro-bound ‘Cats. Collinelli (aka Hollywood Dante) covers the draft and does incredibly comprehensive and helpful prospect rankings for Blue Chip Scouting, he covers the Miami Dolphins for DolphinsTalk.com and he serves as the sports editor for The Temple University Newspaper (The Temple News) where Collinelli is an undergrad.
Follow him @DanteCollinelli on Twitter.
Inside NU: “You have Alijah Vera-Tucker ranked 2nd ahead of Rashawn Slater in your offensive tackle rankings, which might make you enemy No. 1 among the Northwestern fanbase (kidding but also not). Is that more a credit to Vera-Tucker, or do you see some small flaws in Slater’s game that made you place him at third instead?”
Dante Collinelli: “My ranking of Vera-Tucker has everything to do with his (Vera-Tucker’s) play as opposed to Slater’s. Vera-Tucker has two years of 1st round caliber film with one at guard and the other coming at left tackle. Slater is versatile too, but I haven’t seen it with my own eyes yet. That gives Vera-Tucker a leg up.
INU: “Life depends on it and you have to choose, does Slater spend the majority of his NFL career at the guard or tackle position?”
Collinelli: “I think it’ll end up depending on which team takes him, but I’ll say guard. Slater projects quite well there given how great he is at climbing to the second level and punishing linebackers.”
INU: “If you had to make a list of every single team that Slater could realistically end up going to, what would it be?
Collinelli: “Dolphins, Chargers, Panthers, Giants, Vikings, Raiders, Cardinals, and Colts. I don’t think he falls past 21 or I would keep naming teams.”
INU: “You definitely understand more about football than I do, but from what I watched and reviewed it didn’t seem like there were a ton of flaws in Newsome’s game. He has great closing speed, he flips his hips vs double moves well and seemed adept at both man and zone coverage (not to mention he’s physical at the point of attack too). Is the only thing keeping him from being CB1 on most boards the not Uber-elite measurables (I.e. he’s slight and not the tallest dude) and the injury concerns?”
Collinelli: “The two things keeping Newsome II from being CB1 is injuries and the fact that Patrick Surtian II exists. Newsome II’s film is about as good as it gets in both man and zone coverage, but he’s not going to make up for the pedigree held by Surtain II in the eyes of the NFL.”
INU: “I’m convinced that Newsome to New Orleans is a match made in heaven, seeing that he’s the most confident corner and biggest draft talker I’ve seen, and NOLA already has great trash talkers in Marshon Lattimore and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Are you in with me on this? Is Newsome to the Saints what everyone should be rooting for if they want some premium content?”
Collinelli: “This would be a match made in heaven, and I assume the Saints would sprint the card to the podium if Newsome II was still on the board that late. Personally, I don’t think the Saints get a chance to draft him without a trade up. The Saints have been dying to find a running mate for Marshon Lattimore for years, and Newsome II fits the bill.”
INU: “What would be your NFL player comp for both Slater and Newsome (though if you’re understandably not in favor of giving comps bc of unfair expectations they place on players + the shoe-horning of guys into player molds, I’m here to hear your explanation on why don’t want to give comps)?”
Collinelli: “I don’t have a player comparison for either. I will do comparisons if they jump out to me and are very obvious when watching film. I think comps tend to cast a shadow on the other parts of evaluation. I care significantly more about Slater’s pass sets or Newsome II’s transitions than whether or not they are similar to a certain NFL player. People tend to focus way too much on those compared to everything else or people will end up forcing bad comps. I just don’t think they add anything to the evaluation process.”
INU: “The team you cover, the Miami Dolphins, have picks at both 6 and 18 in the first round. What would your reaction be to Miami either taking Slater at 6, Greg Newsome at 18, or trading down and picking one of those two?”
Collinelli: “The only way I could see the Dolphins taking Slater is with a trade down that includes the Broncos coming up from pick nine. He’s not worth the sixth overall pick, and I don’t think they will draft an offensive tackle there regardless. As for Newsome II, the Dolphins have a billion dollars invested in cornerback already and selected one in the first round last season, so I just don’t see a path for him to get to Miami.”
INU: “On a scale of 1-10, how cool/fitting are each of these names for the positions that each guy respectively plays?”
- Rashawn Slater
- Greg Newsome
- Paddy Fisher (guaranteed 10/10)
- Tuf Borland (had to throw this one in there too)
Rashawn Slater: 5/10. What’s a Slater anyway?
Greg Newsome II: 7/10. Any name with roman numerals is automatically a 7.
Paddy Fisher: 10/10. Great Name.
Tuf Borland: 11/10. Never has a name fit a prospect so perfectly.
INU: “Do you see anyone else from Northwestern being drafted? Does anybody from the group of Paddy Fisher, Blake Gallagher, Earnest Brown IV or Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman have a chance?”
Collinelli: “Fisher has a chance because he’s been on NFL Draft Radars for about three seasons now. He’s a decent downhill thumper capable of filling the A and B gaps. Sadly, his archetype is very much a dying breed in today’s NFL.
As for everyone else, you never want to say never, but I think it’s pretty unlikely.”
INU: “Is Northwestern the coolest team in the Big Ten West division (answer carefully here my friend)?”
Collinelli: “Yes, because their All-22 has three different angles which makes my life as an evaluator much easier.”
Follow him @DanteCollinelli on Twitter and check out all of his great content for both Blue Chip Scouting and Dolphins Talk!