NFL Draft

NFL Draft Day 3: Wildcats find their new homes 📹

A Medill Sports Production

Day 3 of the NFL Draft brought plenty of rain, but also plenty of picks. The final four rounds were held in Selection Square, located in NFL Draft Town in Grant Park. There, crowds braved the elements to hear more names called and see teams welcome their new additions.

Two former Northwestern players were picked up today. Defensive end Dean Lowry heard his name called by the Green Bay Packers in round four, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed fullback Danny Vitale  in round six.

The Chicago Bears picked up five new players today, after General Manager Ryan Pace made some early round trades to amass several strategic picks.

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Chicago says goodbye to NFL Draft until (insert best guess here)

By Julia Cardi

Lisa Nelson loves Chicago, and she loves football. So when the NFL Draft came to the city starting in 2015, the La Grange resident and lifelong Green Bay Packers fan was thrilled. Nelson and her family have enjoyed attending Draft Town with her family to meet former and current players, spend time around other football fans, and watch the final rounds these last two years.

She can’t understand why the NFL will probably move the event in 2017, saying Chicago has done so well as host.

“I was hoping this was going to be its home,” she said as she waited to watch her children run the 40-yard dash. “It’s a good, central location, and people are passionate about sports here.” Continue reading

It’s the 2016 NFL Draft, brought to you by Ohio State

By Jordan Ray

Four years ago, Joey Bosa, Darron Lee, Eli Apple and Ezekiel Elliott took a picture together during an Ohio State football game. They were visiting the school as high school seniors on a recruiting trip.

“I was, like, 16 in that picture,” Apple said. “I just remember it was really cold that game. (Ohio State) put up a lot of points. It was, like, 63-20. Very great game. Very entertaining.”

The group led a massive class of 12 Buckeyes chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft that ended Saturday in Chicago.

“That’s what is expected from Ohio State,” Elliott said. “That’s why we all went to the Ohio State University, because we knew we were going to be prepared to play at the next level.”

Ohio State holds the record with 14 selected in the 2004 draft.

Among those chosen in 2016, Ohio State had five picked in the top 20 (Bosa, Elliott, Apple, Lee and Taylor Decker), including three in the top 10 (Bosa, Elliott and Apple).

“Nobody has higher expectations for ourselves than we do,” Bosa said. “Me and Zeke and Darron would always laugh about (being) first-rounders, (saying) ‘Hey, we’re going to be first-rounders one day.’ Here we are.”

Bosa, a defensive end, was the first Buckeye taken. San Diego picked him with the third overall pick.

“Right after I got called, we all shared a good moment,” Bosa said. “Big hug. I was crying like a baby, of course.”

Five more Buckeyes were picked on Day 2 (Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, Adolphus Washington, Braxton Miller and Nick Vannett), breaking the record for the most players (10) taken in the first three rounds.

The record for Rounds 1-3 had been eight, set by Tennessee in 2000. It’s also one more than the entire Big 12 conference had selected during that timespan.

The final two Buckeyes went on Day 3. First, the Chargers took linebacker Joshua Perry fourth in the fourth round — with Bosa announcing the pick for their new team.

“He’s one of the hardest workers I know,” Bosa told “An amazing leader. A physical freak. He’s a big, huge guy at the linebacker position and helped our defense tremendously over the past three years. He’ll do that here in San Diego. It’s a steal for sure to get him in the fourth round.”

The Bills took quarterback Cardale Jones with the final pick of the fourth round.

That gave Ohio State 12 picks for the first four rounds, also an NFL record for one school. That’s three more then the mark held by the 2004 and 2006 Buckeyes.

Despite winning the national title last year, Alabama had seven.

“I’m happy for those Ohio State guys,” said Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, who went to Buffalo in the second round. “We got real close during this process and (Ezekiel Elliott) told me it’s a hard few days for him. We joke about it right now,
but I’m not mad about it.”

Photo at top: Ezekiel Elliot takes the NFL Draft red carpet Thursday night. Elliot was the second of 12 Ohio State players selected during the three day draft. (Lena Blietz/MEDILL)

To play or not to play? NFL & USA Football advise parents

By EmmaKate Austin and Lena Blietz

ESPN’s Mike Golic, co-host of Mike and Mike, and his wife, Chris Golic, led a panel discussion for parents about the safety of youth football and other sports. The NFL’s Play 60 teamed up with USA Football for the event, where kids participated in an hour of football drills while their parents attended the panel. Panelists included Bears tight end Zach Miller and former offensive tackle James “Big Cat” Williams.

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Draft Town day 3: Mother nature isn’t a football fan

By Nicole Sedivy

Rain or shine, the draft must go on.

Day three of the NFL Draft took place outdoors at Selection Square in Draft Town. But the weather didn’t cooperate. The National Weather Service reported an afternoon temperature of 47 degrees and rain. That didn’t stop every fan from attending. Some die hard football fanatics braved the weather to see their team pick the next future stars.

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Reality check: Fans get closer than ever to athletes with virtual technology

By Erin Barney

Sean Smith watched Paxton Lynch’s perfect spiral fly over his head and hit a receiver in stride. There was grass under his feet and Lynch’s trainers to his left and right. When he looked up, he swore he could feel the Memphis sun.

But then the STRIVR goggles came off, and it was back to reality. A much colder, rainier Chicago reality.

Smith, 44, was one of thousands of fans in the NFL’s Draft Town Saturday to enter a virtual world. A Palo Alto, California-based virtual reality company, STRIVR, lets fans get an up-close and personal encounter with the players. The goggles offered a 360-degree view of Jaylon Smith’s workout or a look at the defensive line from Shaq Lawson’s vantage point. Continue reading

Bay Watch: Northwestern’s Vitale heads to Bucs, Lowry to Packers

By Tolly Taylor

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t just draft Danny Vitale in the sixth round Saturday.

They drafted Danny Vitale, Superback.

“It sounds like they want to play me as their fullback and as a second tight end as well,” said Vitale, a hybrid “superback” at Northwestern. “That’s what I did in college, so I think they’ll utilize my skill set the way that’ll be a big advantage to them.” Continue reading