Football: Two Northwestern players drafted, two more sign as free agents


Daily File Photo by Jacob Swan

Dean Lowry tackles an opposing ball carrier. The defensive end was drafted Saturday by the Green Bay Packers.

Max Gelman, Sports Editor


Two Wildcats heard their names called during the final four rounds of the NFL Draft, which took place Saturday afternoon.

First, defensive end Dean Lowry was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 4th round. At 6 feet 6 inches and 296 pounds, Lowry appeared in all 13 games during his senior campaign in 2015, registering 31 solo tackles and 3 sacks. He also set a career high with 13.5 tackles for loss last season and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.

At the NFL scouting combine, Lowry impressed with 30 bench-press reps of 225 pounds, fifth-most for all defensive linemen and a 4.81 second 40-yard dash.

Additionally, superback Dan Vitale was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 6th round as a fullback.

Vitale led Northwestern in all receiving categories during his senior campaign, hauling in 33 catches for 355 yards and 4 touchdowns. Over his NU career, the Wheaton, Illinois, native totaled 135 catches for 1,427 yards, and his 11 career receiving touchdowns are tied for 10th-most in program history. Additionally, Vitale picked up second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2015.

The Buccaneers had shown interest in Vitale leading up to the draft, hosting him for a private workout last month. He also visited privately with the New England Patriots.

Defensive lineman Deonte Gibson and safety Traveon Henry each signed contracts as undrafted free agents following the completion of the draft. Gibson signed with the Detroit Lions and Henry inked a deal with the Buccaneers.

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