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NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft: Mid-American Conference (MAC) Scouting Reports

2020 NFL Draft: Mid-American Conference (MAC) Scouting Reports
Photo: USA Today

Northern Illinois Huskies
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Ross Bowers, QB

Career Snapshot: Graduate transfer from Cal who started his lone season at Northern Illinois and completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,130 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2019. Missed three games due to a concussion during his senior season. Started for Cal during the 2017 season and completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,039 yards, 18 TDs and 12 INTs.

Positives: Relatively efficient college quarterback who naturally looks off the safety, understands what’s happening on the field and shows solid pocket awareness. Knows where receivers are, displays timing on passes and has a compact throwing motion. Elusive and can escape the rush to get outside the pocket and make the throw on the move. Quickly locates the open wideout, puts air under deep passes, and throws a catchable ball.

Negatives: Lacks arm strength, cannot drive deep throws and really needs to put a lot of extra effort in to get the ball down the field. Smaller quarterback with a thin frame. Rotated in and out of the lineup last season and was never a consistent starter.

Analysis: Bowers had a modicum of success at both California and Northern Illinois, but he’s nothing more than roster fodder this summer.

Marshe’ Terry, S

Positives: Former Connecticut safety who transferred to Northern Illinois, moved to linebacker and had a good season. Effectively reads and diagnoses the action and keeps plays in front of him.

An explosive hitter who shows ability in pursuit, covers a good amount of area on the field and quickly closes to the action. Displays good change-of-direction ability, effectively uses his hands to protect himself, and gives effort against the run. Physical and works hard to get involved in the action. Gets depth on pass drops.

Negatives: Grabs and clutches too much when he should wrap up tackling. Struggles to get off blocks. Inconsistent production.

Analysis: Terry displayed flashes early in his Connecticut career before he became a part-time player in 2017 and moved on to Northern Illinois. He found a home at linebacker last year and could be an invaluable backup as a pursuit linebacker and special-teams player.

Mykelti Williams, S

Positives: Nice-sized safety who is best in the box and playing downhill. Tough, smart, and gives effort in all aspects. Efficient, takes proper angles to the action, and effectively reads and diagnoses plays. Aggressive, flies to the ball and gets the most from his ability.

Negatives: Lacks great range and lateral speed. Average athlete.

Analysis: Williams was a terrific football player at the small-conference level, but he lacks the size, speed and athleticism for the next level. His ability to play special teams will dictate whether he gets out of camp this summer.

Ohio Bobcats
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Javon Hagan, S

Positives: Nice sized safety who plays with a violent attitude. Very aggressive, takes proper angles up the field, and keeps the action in front of him. Explosive hitter who knocks ball carriers off their feet, displays good change-of-direction ability and effectively reads the action. Picks up coverage assignments, displays a nice move to the throw, and works to get a hand in to knock away the ball.

Negatives: Lacks closing and recovery speed. Stiff and slow in his backpedal and loses balance in transition. Slow to shed blocks for a bigger safety.

Analysis: Hagan flashed big-play ability throughout his Northern Illinois career and has the size and temperament to be used as a traditional strong safety on Sundays. His 40 time will dictate whether he’s signed after the draft and special-teams play will determine whether he makes it out of camp this summer.

Austen Pleasants, OT

Positives: Large college left tackle who projects to the right side. Sets with a wide base, effectively bends his knees for a taller blocker and stays square to keep the defender in front of him. Strong, quickly sets up off the snap and easily turns defenders from the action to open running lanes. Keeps his feet moving and works his hands throughout the action, displays terrific patience and keeps his head on a swivel.

Negatives: Must improve his overall balance. Stiff, lacks footwork and displays minimal lateral range.

Analysis: Pleasants is a size prospect who must fill out his frame and improve his balance to make a practice squad next summer.

Nathan Rourke, QB

Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started all three of his seasons at Ohio. Earned First Team All-MAC honors, completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,820 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions and rushed for 867 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior in 2019. Earned Second Team All-MAC honors as a junior and as a sophomore. Completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,434 yards and 23 touchdowns with eight INTs and rushed for 860 yards and 15 scores in 2018. Completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 2,203 yards and 17 touchdowns with seven interceptions and rushed for 912 yards and 21 TDs in 2017.

Positives: Athletic quarterback who is effective as both a passer and a runner. Remains poised in the pocket, stands strong against the rush and works to make positive plays. Patient, effectively sells ball fakes and scans the field to locate the open wideout. Displays good velocity on short and intermediate throws. Possesses outstanding sense and overall awareness. Goes through progressions, does not make poor throws or force passes and shows the ability to pick up yardage on the ground. Quick enough and fast enough to turn the corner and keeps the play in bounds to pick up positive yardage.

Negatives: Possesses a mechanical, stiff delivery. All over the place with throws, misses open receivers and makes them work hard to come away with the reception. Doesn’t sense pressure well. Makes a lot of easy passes at the college level, and the further down the field or out to the flanks he throws the ball, the more of an adventure it becomes.

Analysis: Rourke was a productive RPO quarterback who comes with athleticism, but he needs a lot of work on his game. Though he is liked in some areas of the scouting circles, I see Rourke as nothing more than a practice-squad prospect at the next level.

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