Nick Kwiatkoski has a chance to be the next Brian Urlacher.
The former WVU linebacker could follow in the footsteps of a Chicago Bears legend. Urlacher played 13 seasons in the NFL, all with the Bears. He remains a legend at Soldier Field and an immortal talent in the city of Chicago.
As Kwiatkoski struck fear into Big 12 opponents for four seasons, Urlacher did the same at the professional level. Kwiatkoski now leaves West Virginia and head to the Windy City with the hope of replicating the career of the future Hall of Famer.
With the 113th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bears selected Nick Kwiatkoski. The pick was early in the fourth around, right around the start of Saturday’s session.
The Draft is being held in Chicago, not far from Kwiatkoski’s future home.
According to Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Kwiatkoski is the first player drafted under Jeff Metheny, who coached Kwiatkoski in high school. Kwiatkoski hails from Bethel Park, Pa., just south of Pittsburgh. Metheny has been coaching at the high school for more than 20 years.
"“He’s a throwback kid,” Metheny said in the Tribune-Review. “He fought through some injuries. His work ethic is so phenomenal. He took the talent the good Lord blessed him with, meaning the speed and the strength, and he has the desire to get better. He made himself into a great player.”"
At WVU, Kwiatkoski recorded 205 tackles in 48 career games. He earned playing time right away and was a captain for the Mountaineers his junior and senior seasons.
Kwiatkoski stands at 6-foot-2, 243 pounds. So, he has grown into his monstrous frame and fits the bill of a prototypical NFL linebacker. Urlacher checked in at 6-foot-4 and weighed nearly 250 pounds.
“Kwit” as he was affectionately known by his teammates, joined fellow linebackers Shaq Petteway and Jared Barber to make up one of the best defensive units in the Big 12.
He still has a long way to go if he plans to match what Urlacher accomplished over his illustrious career.
In 13 seasons, Urlacher recorded 1,353 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
Kwiatkoski certainly has the drive and determination to not only make the team, but make an impact at the next level. The West Virginia faithful was lucky to cheer him on from 2012 to 2015, now the Bears fans will reap the benefits in the near future.
Next season, he very well could be playing alongside former WVU teammate Kevin White. White, unfortunately, missed an entire season due to an injury he suffered in practice before the 2015 season.