Tag Archives: Clayton Thorson

2019 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: NFC East

The New York Giants had the sixth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft and selected former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.  Their selection set off a series of events in what shapes up to be a very competitive division in 2019.  We take a look at every pick in the division made this past weekend.

NFC EAST

Hill (No. 9 pictured), the Dallas Cowboys second-round selection, actually starred as a 320-pound freshman defensive end under former defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
Dallas Cowboys Notable picks: Hill may be the pick that the team looks back on eventually with a smile.  His immense athleticism could provide matchup problems from the inside in Year 1.  Pollard’s play speed varies, but his downhill running style gives the team options in the return game.
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2 (58) Trysten Hill UCF 74/2nd Round We talked to one anonymous offensive coordinator who stated that “Hill was the best defensive lineman they had seen."  This same coordinator had also faced other top-notch Power 5 defenses.  It lays credence to the amount of talent that the 300-plus pound Hill possesses.
3 (90) Connor McGovern OG/Penn State 98/3rd Round The Cowboys had a revolving door at the left guard spot in 2018 and McGovern- a former U.S. Army All-American-got on the field early for the Nittany Lions, starting nine games as a freshman.  He is a bully on the football field who works better at guard than center.
4 (128) Tony Pollard All-Purpose/Memphis 161/3rd Round The NCAA’s all-time leading kickoff returner in terms of TD returns was also an effective dot running back and slot receiver.  He could be a steal in the fourth round.  Career Stats: 4,860 all-purpose yards-139 carries for 941 yards (6.8 YPC) and 9 TDs; 104 receptions for 1,292 yards (12.4 YPR) and 9 TDs; 87 KOR, 2,616 yards (30.1 yds/KR) and an NCAA-record 7 KR TDs
5 (158) Michael Jackson CB/Miami (Fla.) 149/3rd Round Jackson had a solid two-year run for the Hurricanes subsidized by an above average showing during 2019 East-West Shrine practices.  He is a very good challenger versus wide receivers, particularly bigger receiving targets. He is a cornerback that does better versus outside releases than inside releases in press-man.
5 (165) Joe Jackson DE/

Miami (Fla.)

180/3rd Round Jackson can be a bit unorthodox in his style, making it tough for offensive tackles to gauge his techniques.  Despite some stiffness, he posted 138 tackles, 24 QB sacks, 37.5 TFLs, 5 FFs, 2 FRs, INT and 5 PBUs in 39 games.
6 (213) Donovan Wilson S/Texas A&M 168/3rd Round Wilson came to Texas A&M with a reputation for turning the ball over and didn't disappoint in school.  A long defender, his versatility extended to the nickel, cornerback and safety spots in school.
7 (218)

Acquired from Oakland

Mike Weber RB/Ohio State 347/5th Round The former U.S. Army All-American got off to a hot start in Columbus, but that has since cooled down after a rash of nagging lower extremity injuries lingered over a two-year period.
7 (241)

 

Jalen Jelks DE/Oregon 174/3rd Round Jelks, a former high school interior DL, can move around the defensive front with ease.  He is more athletic than his testing numbers suggest. 
New York Giants first-round draft pick Daniel Jones' 85-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver T.J. Rahming in the 2018 Independence Bowl was one of five touchdown passes in a career-best performance.

 

New York Giants Notable picks: Although the Giants made several good selections, this entire draft will ultimately come down to how the team transitions from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones.  GM Dave Gettleman and his scouting department deserve credit for getting early-round value with Love, the Slaytons and Ballentine. For the second straight year, Gettleman decided to draft a player from Georgia's defense (2018-Lorenzo Carter, third round).
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1 (6) Daniel Jones Duke 73/2nd Round The Giants believe that Jones can be an Eli Manning-clone, but perhaps with better athleticism.  Jones started 36 games in his career and finished it with six touchdowns in an MVP performance in the 2018 Independence Bowl.
1 (17)

Acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the Odell Beckham, Jr. and Olivier Vernon trade

Dexter Lawrence Clemson 9/1st Round After taking its heir apparent to Eli Manning early, the Giants decide to bet on the third Clemson DL to go off on the board.  Can Lawrence return to his 2016 ACC Rookie of the Year form?  It may not matter.  He will line up over the center in the team’s three-man fronts and occasionally line up over offensive guards in their four-man looks.
1 (30)

Acquired from the Seattle Seahawks

Deandre Baker Georgia 36/2nd Round Baker’s toughness will be a good fit for the Giants.  He has a chance to vie for a starting role in Year 1.  The big key for him will be finding a balance in transition during the move area for wide receivers (12-to-16 yards). 
3 (95) Oshane Ximines DE/Old Dominion 148/3rd Round Ximines (Troy Jefferson's Player to Watch in our 2018 Old Dominion preview)  has plenty of the characteristics needed to produce as a 30-front outside linebacker.  While only an adequate bender, he uses a quick-footed nature to escape offensive tackles.   He seemed most comfortable rushing from the right side in the film viewed.
4 (108) Julian Love CB/Notre Dame 68/2nd Round Love’s gambling style resulted in a number of pick-six opportunities in 2017, and he finished on most of them.  The consensus All-American has outstanding instincts and quickness. 
5 (143) Ryan Connelly LB/Wisconsin 237/4th Round Connelly’s toughness shined through the entire 2018 season.  Despite playing through injury, he produced at nearly the exact level as he had in 2017. He is not a thumper but is capable of getting low to tackle.  Connelly ends up getting the draft call over partner and All-Big Ten linebacker T.J. Edwards.
5 (171) Darius Slayton WR/Auburn 127/3rd Round Speed is a big part of the equation whenever a receiver averages 20 yards per catch over a three-year period.  Slayton has no problems running by defensive backs.  He caught three passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the 2018 Music City Bowl. His body language gives away intermediate route concepts because he doesn't come off the ball with consistent forward lean.
6 (180) Corey Ballentine CB/Washburn 50/2nd Round He has excellent feet, hip flexibility, toughness and return skills.  Working on staying lower in his backpedal will put yet another tool in his toolbox, but he already can close distances from a variety of angles.
7 (232)

Acquired from Minnesota

George Asafo-Adjei OL/Kentucky 583/6th Round Plus size.  Praised for his versatility within the program.  Heavy puncher. Although he started primarily at the right tackle spot, he can backup several positions.  His impressive Pro Day performance likely earned him a draft slot. 
7 (245)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Chris Slayton DL-Syracuse 123/3rd Round It could be argued that the 700-pound squatter has as much lower body strength as the team’s 17th overall pick in Lawrence. He is not an accomplished pass rusher but he finished his career with 32.5 tackles for losses. Despite the Orange winning 10 games in 2018, Slayton was the team's only draft pick.

 

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins passed for 4,831 yards (70%), 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2018.
Washington Redskins Notable picks: Haskins may carry a bit of a chip on his shoulder due to his slight fall simply because the Giants play in the same division.  It will be fun to track future Jones versus Haskins matchups.  He will pair up with his Buckeye teammate McLaurin in the third round, and we felt that he carried second-round value.  Harmon could become grand larceny in the sixth round, as could either Moreland or Brailford in the seventh.  Bruce Allen and Doug Williams put together a well-constructed draft designed to grab another pass rusher, a future quarterback and more competition at receiver.  Linebacker is still a question mark for the team entering 2019, especially after the release of Zach Brown.  There will be a lot of pressure on Reuben Foster to finally come into his own.
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1 (15) Dwayne Haskins Ohio State 27/2nd Round Haskins passed for 50 touchdowns in his only year as a starter at the collegiate level.  He provides insurance in case Alex Smith is unable to return from a catastrophic leg injury in 2018.  The All-Big Ten signal-caller will compete with former Broncos QB Case Keenum.
1 (26)

Acquired from Indianapolis

Montez Sweat Mississippi State 8/1st Round The Redskins needed to upgrade their pass rush and Sweat was likely the best player left on its board. Aside from dynamic testing numbers, the former Michigan State Spartan stood out over the last two years on the field for the Bulldogs with underrated effort.
3 (76) Terry McLaurin WR/Ohio State 30/2nd Round McLaurin caught 11 TD passes from Dwayne Haskins in 2018.   After a strong Senior Bowl week of practices which clearly defined him as the week’s best route runner, it leaves one to wonder what his production would have been like as its No. 1 featured receiver.  Aside from the ability to win off the line of scrimmage, he is one of the better gunners in this year’s draft.  He finished his career with 17 tackles.
4 (112) Bryce Love RB/Stanford 110/3rd Round Love went nearly exactly at his position on our Big Board, but he may have gone much higher if he had not suffered an ACL injury late in the year. Ankle issues were also a concern during his career. The fact that he carried the ball 97 less times as a senior may have saved him wear-and-tear in the minds of some entering this year’s draft.
4 (131) Wes Martin OG/Indiana N/A The Hoosiers team captain may have surprised some by going ahead of teammate Brandon Knight.  His ability to create forward movement in the run game may be underrated.  Martin did 38 reps at 225 pounds on his Pro Day.
5 (153) Ross Pierschbacher OC/Alabama 314/4th Round It is not often that a high profile offensive lineman from the state of Iowa gets out of the state.  Pierschbacher more than justified his national ranking as a prep level lineman.  He has solid initial quickness, positive on-field movement and decent overall awareness.  He will need some help if left on an island versus elite interior pass rushers.
5 (173) Cole Holcomb LB/UNC 272/4th Round Despite being a good overall athlete, the second-team All-ACC linebacker did not have one scholarship offer coming out of high school.  The former soccer player has good feet on the field.  He is a bit of a pumped up 230-plus pounds.  A workout warrior, he caught the attention of NFL scouts with his 4.46 speed, 6.77 3-cone and 4.15 20-yard short shuttle times in pre-draft workouts.  He also went 11-feet in the broad jump.
6 (206) Kelvin Harmon WR/NC State 108/3rd Round Harmon says he likes Michael Thomas (Saints) because their frames are similar. We think he plays the game at the right clip.  His play strength and 218-pound frame make it  tough for defensive backs to work through and around.  He is a grinder who could stick.
7 (227) Jimmy Moreland CB-Nickel/James Madison 164/3rd Round There is really not much more Moreland could have done while at James Madison.  He covered instinctively, was willing in run support and finished plays on the ball as well as any cornerback in the 2019 NFL Draft class. He finished his career with 18 interceptions (363 yards, 6 TDs), but he was knocked for his 73 1/4-inch wingspan.
7 (253) Jordan Brailford DE-OLB/Oklahoma State 171/3rd Round Brailford did exactly what he was supposed to do during the 2019 postseason.  At every turn he not only met expectations, but often exceeded them.  This was even evident when he showed up over 250 pounds at the 2019 NFL Combine.  On the field, he put up 28 tackles for losses the last two years with efficient work using roll moves, slithering gaps on line games and an occasional inside club.

 

 

Miller (No. 48 pictured), Penn State's Co-MVP in 2018, posted 12.5 quarterbacks and 26 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.

 

Philadelphia Eagles Notable pick:  For a team that prides itself on pass rushers, the team’s fourth-round pick in Miller has a chance to be more than what many may bargain for.  While his statistics don’t represent it, he was always at his best versus the best competition. For the second straight year, the Eagles take a defensive end with upside in the fourth round (2018-Josh Sweat).
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1 (22)

Acquired from the Baltimore Ravens  in exchange for its 25th overall pick

Andre Dillard OT/Washington State 13/1st Round Dillard has the ability to pass protect at a high level and he will be tasked to become the team’s bookend opposite Lane Johnson. After being a serviceable Pac-12 tackle in a pass-happy offense, will his workout numbers translate to becoming a dominant force on the field? 
2 (53)

Acquired from Baltimore

Miles Sanders RB/Penn State 49/2nd Round Sanders came to Penn State ranked as the No. 1 running back in the entire country by several recruiting services.  He is adequate in blitz pick-up and -although largely unproven as a route runner- possesses soft hands.  As he moves on to the NFL, he will become more aware of his ball security.
2 (57) J.J. Arcega-Whiteside WR/Stanford 100/3rd Round Arcega-Whiteside, the 2014 South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, and former high school basketball standout, brings a high-flying style to the field.  It will be important for the Eagles to move him around some, like they did at Stanford. 
4 (138) Shareef Miller DE/Penn State 138/4th Round Miller -a junior-entry who ranked 138th on our Big Board- could prove to be a better pro than collegian.  He is better with his hand in the dirt than out of a two-point stance and often translates speed-to-power on line games and stunts.  He bought into DL coach Sean Spencer’s various techniques the last two seasons.
5 (167)

Acquired from New England via Los Angeles via Kansas City

Clayton Thorson QB/Northwestern 178/3rd Round His moxie, arm strength, athleticism and overall pocket presence complement above average size. He won 35 of his 53 career games in school and was 3-1 as a starter in bowl games (didn’t finish the Music City Bowl).  He did, however, bring his team back from a 20-3 deficit in the 2018 Holiday Bowl. 

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The Barton gene

Cody Barton is a Utah Ute through and through.

The Utah linebacker is the son of two former Utes: his mother, Mikki, played basketball and volleyball. In 1993, she was named the WAC Player of the Year in basketball and led the nation in blocks in volleyball to earn all-conference honors. His father, Paul, played football and baseball in Salt Lake City. He went on to spend a year in the minors with the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.

Paul and Mikki not only passed on the Utes genes to Cody but his older brother, Jackson, and his younger sister, Dani, also donned the red and white.

Cody's brother, Jackson (No. 70 pictured), is an NFL prospect in his own right after starting 29 games at both right and left tackle over a four-year span.

Dani plays volleyball while Jackson played offensive tackle for the last four years. Jackson finished this season as a first team All-Pac-12 performer while Cody was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Despite having a brother on the team and a family of Utes, the person on campus Cody Barton might be closest to is linebacker Chase Hansen.

Last offseason, Barton helped Chase in his transition from safety to fellow linebacker.

“We had a strong bond,” said Barton during the week of the East West Shrine Game. “Me and Chase were very close. He’s one of my best friends on the team besides my brother, I stayed at his house a couple nights during the week.”

Barton said he and Chase would compete in everything from lifting in the weight room to running in the hallways.

Utah All-Pac-12 linebacker Chase Hansen, pictured left, working hand placement with fellow friend and teammate Cody Barton prior to the 2018 Holiday Bowl.

The bond translated from Chase’s studio apartment all the way to the gridiron. The pair finished as the team’s two leading tacklers.

Barton finished with 117 tackles while Hansen added 114. Barton also bested Hansen with four sacks to two. He added another piece of hardware to his trophy case during the week of the 2019 East-West Shrine game, when he won the Pat Tillman Award, which is given to a player who best exemplifies intelligence, sportsmanship and service.

“Throughout his career, Barton has demonstrated a relentless drive and great awareness on the field, frustrating offenses like the man for which the award is named,” stated a press release from the East West Shrine Game.

The Utes finished 13th overall in yards allowed per contest and that mark could be attributed in part to Barton’s work as the commander of the defense.

“Just about every play we’re communicating with (the defensive line),” Barton said. He also on occasion talks with the back end of the defense.

The communication between the three levels of the defense allows the Utes to run various stunts and shades in the front while timing blitzes between the linebackers.

Barton (No. 30 seen rushing Clayton Thorson in the 2018 Holiday Bowl) posted nine career QB sacks and 23.5 tackles for losses.

The NFL prospect credited Utah Utes defensive coordinator and safeties coach Morgan Scalley for the harmony among the Utes defense.

“We’re always disguising,” Barton said. “Everything we were doing we were always disguising.”

One thing Barton doesn’t disguise is the brotherhood he has with his fellow Utes and the personal competition he has with Chase.

“I hope he sees this and knows I’m faster,” said Barton. It’s worth noting, Barton finished with a 4.64 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, while Hansen didn’t participate due to a hip injury.

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2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl, Photo Gallery, 12-31-18: 22) Northwestern vs. 17) utah

The 22nd-ranked Northwestern Wildcats used a furious third quarter rally to overtake the 17th-ranked Utah Utes, 31-20. Led by a defense that forced timely turnovers and 2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP Clayton Thorson, the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points in the third stanza. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous takes us inside the game with this photo collage.

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2018 Season Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

Season outlook

Pat Fitzgerald's team has won 27 games over the past three seasons but his Wildcats haven't been able to make an appearance in the Big Ten Championship game.  Once again, division foes Iowa and Wisconsin will field strong teams and offer Northwestern tough competition.  Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson (6'4, 225) has started every game over the last three seasons and is on the watchlist for the Maxwell Award.  The biggest key for Thorson will be how he recovers from a serious injury suffered in the 2017 Music City Bowl.  With the departure of Justin Jackson,  sophomore running back Jeremy Larkin (5'10, 194) will take over the duties of carrying the rock.  On defense, the Wildcats have playmakers at every level.  Senior cornerback Montre Hartage leads the charge on the back end, junior defensive end Joe Gaziano (6'4, 280) sets the edge and sophomore linebacker Paddy Fisher (6'4, 245) mans the second level of the defense.

Troy's player to watch

24 Montre Hartage 6'0 190 CB-Senior
 

Hartage has started 26 straight games at cornerback and has worked himself into somewhat of a shutdown corner. The senior has eight career interceptions and will enter 2018 as the best defensive back on the roster.  The Wildcats return three potential All-Conference players in its front seven, which should alleviate some of the responsibilities on the back end for Hartage. Look for the cornerback to have another strong season, if opposing quarterbacks choose to throw his way. 

Game of the season

October 6th at Michigan State
Northwestern has defeated the Spartans in consecutive years.  Last year's contest was a game to remember,  as the Wildcats bested the Spartans in a triple overtime 39-31 thriller in Evanston.  This year, the Wildcats will have to travel to East Lansing to face a Michigan State team that returns a number of starters.  If the Wildcats want to put the Big Ten on notice as a contender in the West division, a win against the Spartans will go a long way.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

32 Nate Hall 6’2 230 LB-Senior

Hall finished 2017 with 79 tackles, six quarterback sacks, 16.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and six pass break-ups.

Hall throws his body around and reacts quickly versus blockers.  Perhaps more importantly, he can react instinctively versus the passing game.  The weakness for him revolves around his man-to-man coverage skill.  His pursuit angles can be hit-or-miss in pursuit.  With all of that said, his ability to rush the passer and make plays in zone coverage provides a unique combination for the Wildcats.  If he can drop his pad level with more consistency, look for Hall to take the next step as a prospect.

Prediction:  8-4

Northwestern will start the season 4-0 but will stumble across the finish line, according to Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson. The Wildcats will lose on the road against Michigan State and Iowa and at home against Wisconsin and Notre Dame. 

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