Scout Watch: Eastern Michigan at Northwestern

As the second week of the college football season is about to begin, Scout.com's Chris Steuber has the latest and confirms that four teams will travel to Evanston on Saturday.

Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers, who are sending their Pro Personnel Coordinator Doug Whatley, will be in Evanston, Illinois on Saturday afternoon to scout the Eastern Michigan, Northwestern game.


Wootton was limited against Towson last week and could be let loose this week against Eastern Michigan.
AP/M. Spencer Green

The teams that will be in Evanston this weekend are defensive oriented teams and teams that need help on defense. And it’s no surprise to see that scouts are decending on Northwestern, as they have one of the top hybrids in the nation in DE/OLB Corey Wootton.

At 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Wootton is an explosive, game changing pass rusher who possesses a quick first step and a long wingspan that he uses to his advantage. He’s still developing his technique, but he has a solid repertoire of moves and tremendous athleticism. He has the awareness and instincts to diagnose the action and locates the ball quickly. But, he has to fight off double teams more consistently and be more effective defending the run. He keeps his feet moving in traffic and has excellent lateral mobility. He displays great toughness and is a leader on defense.

Wootton is being cautiously used in the early portion of this season, as he’s still coming back from a torn ACL he suffered in the Alamo Bowl last year. Wootton played last week against Towson, but lined up for just 14 plays and didn’t record any statistics. When healthy, Wootton’s one of the premier pass rushers in the country and he’s trying to regain his dominance of a year ago when he had 42 tackles, 16 for a loss, and 10 sacks.

This game also features two quarterbacks who scouts view as developmental prospects for the next level, Northwestern's Mike Kafka and Eastern Michigan's Andy Schmitt.

Entering his senior year and first year as a starter, Kafka has shown flashes of being a quality quarterback for the last two seasons, but was resigned to being the backup during his career in favor of C.J. Bacher. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Kafka has prototypical size, a strong arm and possesses excellent decision-making and accuracy. Last week against Towson, Kafka completed 15-of-20 passes for 192 yards.

Schmitt, on the other hand, struggled last week, completing just 58.1-percent of his passes for 183 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, in a 27 – 14 loss to Army. But at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds, Schmitt has the size and arm strength that scouts crave. In the past, Schmitt wasn’t known for taking unnecessary sacks, but last week he was sacked six times, and if Wootton is on the field more this week, it could get ugly.



A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com.


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