Commentary: NFL Draft 2009
by Jonathan Hodges

As most 'Cats fans have now read, Tyrell Sutton, John Gill, and Eric Peterman have all inked free agent deals with NFL squads (Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears, respectively) after being passed over through all 7 rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft.  Although I am not shocked, I am a bit surprised that Gill and Sutton weren't grabbed during the latter rounds of the draft, especially Gill who seemed destined for the NFL as long as two years ago after anchoring the inside of NU's DL for some time.  Sutton is a stand-up, hard-working guy who can make a difference on special teams and is one of the best receivers out of the backfield I've seen.  In any case, both of them along with Peterman will get their shot with NFL teams, although nothing is guaranteed.

Their chance to stick with those teams will begin soon, with rookie mini-camps rolling around as early as this weekend (although they won't be done with class until mid-June, assuming they haven't completed their courseload yet), and the moment of truth coming in August during training camp.  Although NU doesn't churn out high profile players every year, the 'Cats usually generate some guys that can stick on NFL rosters despite undrafted status - one of those guys is Brett Basanez on the Bears this year.  Hopefully they will be able to continue that tradition and make a difference in some form.

Speaking of the Bears, it will be even more interesting for Northwestern fans this year as they feature former NU LB Nick Roach as a starting LB, and the aforementioned Brett Basanez competing for a backup spot behind the newly minted Jay Cutler.  Hopefully Peterman will get a chance to be a key slot receiver (like Wes Welker has become for New England in recent years) for the Bears' newly rejuvenated passing game.  The receiving corps still has a large question mark looming over it with no realy go-to receivers, so Peterman will have his shot.

As others have mentioned, Northwestern football is really looking like an image of its leader, Coach Fitz, as a group of maybe not the most talented but some of the hardest working guys around who can come together and make things happen.  Sure, they may not have been the most highly touted recruits and may not be drafted at the top, but they do what it takes to succeed on the collegiate field and off the field as well, and as a college football fan, I can't ask for more.

Go 'Cats!!!

e-mail: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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jhodges is the primary content provider of HailToPurple.com.  His commentary and game analyses appear regularly during the season and occasionally in the offseason.