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Professional Hustlers: Northern Illinois

Professional Hustlers looks at the Mid-American Conference studs of yesteryear and what they're doing in the pro ranks right now. Will they make the team? Are they still an elite player? Did they wander off into Canada? Today: Northern Illinois.

RB Michael Turner — Burner didn't fare so hot last year after a breakout 2008 campaign with the Falcons. Le sad. Can he average another 100 yards per game this year? Moreover, can we think of a nickname that's not obviously rhyming with his surname? If you want to stay with the extreme-temperature motif, how about "The Blaze?" Or "Heat Ray?" Or are we reserving that for a fast guy named Ray?

OT Ryan Diem — The Colts tackle is expected to be a tackle for the Colts. Let's not overcomplicate this one.

LB Larry English — Well, if Shawne Merriman can't come back from injury, then that outside linebacker spot would likely belong to English. Hope he's working on an annoying sack dance. Working name: "The English Accent," where he places his arms above his head in the shape of a circumflex.

OT Doug Free — I think we're all happy that he'll start at left tackle for the Cowboys, but Jesus Christ what a bland interview. I suppose that's the mark of a proper lineman...


WR Sam Hurd — ...But when it comes to his college and pro teammate, there's a chance Hurd won't make the Cowboys team ... and it would likely be for financial reasons. This joke would work a lot better if it applied to Doug Free.

FB Jake Nordin — The Lions could have him at fullback, but it's not guaranteed he'll make the team at all.

WR Matt Simon — The Saints were like all, "no," so the Seahawks were like "sure," then two days later they were all like "um, n/m." Oh em gee.

RB Garrett Wolfe — Yeah, it probably doesn't behoove him to get fined for a tackle during preseason.

WR Britt Davis — He made some plays in the Broncos preseason games, but it's apparently not enough for him to break the roster. Also, Britt's a girl's name.

DB Randee Drew — The obligatory CFL representative. The Edmonton Eskimos is where you'll find him.