Virtual draft new reality for Northwestern lineman Joe Gaziano, SIU safety Jeremy Chinn

NFL Draft
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Northwestern defensive lineman Joe Gaziano set a Wildcat record with 30 sacks in his career – something he hopes captured NFL evaluators attention.

“I’m not a GM but I’d pick me,” laughed Gaziano. “I’ve tried to be a model of consistency throughout my career. Try to be a guy who’s reliable. Setting the record was great. Making splash plays has an influence on who’s watching the tape.”

Draft prospects like Gaziano have had to make do with Zoom chats and phone calls in place of in person interviews at team facilities.

But along with his game tape, Gaziano considers himself lucky to have displayed his skills at the East-West Shrine Bowl and his pro day before events got canceled.

“Those were crucial. Very fortunate that my pro day was early. It went very smoothly. All 32 teams were in attendance. I know a lot of guys didn’t get that opportunity and have to create videos of themselves running 40’s.”

Southern Illinois safety Jeremey Chinn turned heads with his 40 and other measurable at the combine.

“I was definitely expecting to blow the combine out of the water,” remarked Chinn. “I actually expected to run a little bit faster and jump a little bit higher in my vertical, but I’m not complaining about the numbers I put up. I definitely expected to have a good showing.”

It’s helped push Chinn’s stock up considerably with first round buzz.

The Bears are one of the teams he’s been in contact with. If he’s still on the board in the second round, he could present an intriguing option at a position of need.”

“That would be really cool. Coming from Carbondale and playing for Southern Illinois and that fan base, staying in Illinois would be really cool. Playing in that defense, I think it would be something special.”

No matter where they land, both players are ready for that life-changing call.

“Even as a little kid, I dreamed of playing in NFL,”Gaziano noted. “For so many drafts that I’ve watched over the year, to have my name be one of those names it would truly be a blessing.”

“Growing up my dream wasn’t just to make it to the NFL but to be one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL,” Chinn explained. “That’s a long ways away, so I have a long way to go and a lot of work to put in.”

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