Wrapping up the NFL Draft

Trading Purple for Steeler Black and Gold

6 <b>Northwestern University </b>Football Alums will be trading schoolbooks for playbooks this summer - 3 Cats were drafted outright, and 3 more had signed free agent contracts Sunday night...<br>

The Highlight of the NGN Auction -
was the appearance of first round draft pick Luis Castillo to help raise the bidding on his game picture from the halls of Nicolet.

Castillo was picked by the San Diego Chargers as the 23rd player in the first round. One of NU's defensive leaders, he had sweated out the early picks, but was beaming Saturday night when he was introduced at the NGN Auction to a standing ovation.

Trai Essex - was picked late Saturday night in the 3rd round by the Pittsburgh Steelers - they liked his versatility and quickness.

Essex originally moved over to Tackle from Tight End on the recommendation of NU coach Randy Walker's staff because they felt that the O-Line was where he had more of a future than as a tight end.

At left guard, he was the man who protected QB Brett Basanez' back for two years and in many of the zone blocking schemes, he had to take on both DE's and Linebackers solo for the plays to work.

Noah Herron
-the latest of NU's 1,000 yard club, was also selected as a fullback by Pittsburgh, in the 7th round.

Herron is a punishing north-south runner who can also catch passes and can pick up blitzing linebackers on pass blocking. He's always been considered "slow," but anyone who's watch game film wonders where that comes from as he scoots through openings in the front.

John Pickens - signed a free agency contract with the New York Jets, joining fellow alum Barry Gardner on the linebacking corps.

Pickens wasn't able to play the entire 2004 season due to rehab from shoulder surgery, but he was responsible for solidifying the NU Linebacking unit during the Big 10 season.

Dominique Price - signed with the Dallas Cowboys - was one of the big hitters in the NU defensive backfield. An honorable mention All Big 10 selection, he's considered a hard hitting safety with excellent instincts.

 Matt Ulrich - one of Center Trevor Rees' protectors in 2003 & 2004, is one of the Cats' most physical players and one of the strongest signed a free agent contract wiht the Indianapolis Colts. Can also slide over and play center.

Still unsigned and undrafted is Offensive Guard Ikechuku Ndukwe, who was the left guard on the NU front last year. He's listed among Scout's best of the unsigned and may have a contract by May 1st.

There we go, a First round, 3rd round and 7th round draft pick for the Wildcats. One of the best pro drafts a long time...


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