football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

John Raine: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • April 11, 2021
  • Share

Today’s NFL teams are looking for versatile tight end prospects who can do it all. John Raine, out of Northwestern, did a little bit of everything while playing as both a tight end and fullback for the Wildcats.

Raine came to Northwestern as a grad transfer in 2020 after four seasons at FAU. He caught 24 passes and two touchdowns in a shortened season, while also serving as the team’s most effective lead blocker. 

Raine spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his decision to transfer to Northwestern, playing in the Big Ten, and what he enjoys about playing both the fullback and tight end positions.

JM: You came to Northwestern in 2020 as a grad transfer from FAU. Tell me about that decision.

JR: I had a great four years at FAU. I created so many special memories there. I’ll always love FAU. It holds a special place in my heart. I reached a point where I felt that I had accomplished a lot there. It was time to move forward. Going to Northwestern was a decision I made for both football and academic reasons. I have an opportunity to earn a master's degree from Northwestern. That played a huge role in my decision. They also presented a great football opportunity with coach Pat Fitzgerald at the helm. I had an amazing year playing under him. We had a lot of success on the field in 2020.

JM: That sounds like a no-brainer. You had an awesome year at Northwestern in 2020.

JR: It was a crazy year. I got there in July. I was only there for six or seven months. We had all the protocols in place. It was a special year. We had a group of guys that were committed to sacrificing for one another. We were very careful when it came to COVID-19. We wanted to play football. We didn’t want to have any positive cases. Everyone was so safe in order to ensure we stayed healthy and at full force for every game. 

I made a bunch of lifelong relationships at Northwestern. I’ll never forget my few months there. We played for one another on Saturdays. That’s why we were so successful.

JM: It was easy to see on the field. What was the biggest difference between playing in the Big Ten as opposed to Conference USA?

JR: The level of competition on a weekly basis was noticeably different. There are a lot of guys in the Conference USA that can play in the Big Ten. There’s no doubt about that. But week after week, the competition in the Big Ten was good stuff. You had to bring it every single week.

JM: You’ve mostly played tight end, but you’ve also been used as a fullback in certain scenarios. What do you enjoy about playing those two positions, and which one do you see yourself playing at the next level?

JR: You said it. I was mostly used as a tight end but I’ve also done some things as a fullback in the backfield. As a tight end, I flexed out and caught balls on the perimeter. I love the physicality of being a fullback. I love meeting a linebacker in the A-gap or whatever it is. I love to do it. Being a tight end, I enjoy creating a mismatch opportunity in coverage when I’m lined up with a linebacker or safety. That’s what I most enjoy about the tight end position.

I’m willing to play both positions in the NFL. Whatever fits our scheme, I’m happy to do it. It’ll ultimately depend on my landing spot. I can play both tight end and fullback. I can flex out and catch passes and I can block. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

JM: That’s wonderful. We love to hear that. Have you met with any teams throughout this process?

JR: I got a chance to meet with a few teams at the Hula Bowl. All of my meetings went well. I’ll meet with a few teams virtually as well. At the Hula Bowl, I met with the Saints, Packers, Dolphins, Bears, and Giants.

JM: That’s great. You’re so versatile. Who are some of the players that you enjoy watching, and do you model your game after anybody in particular?

JR: Over the last few years, I’ve watched a lot of Kyle Juszczyk from San Francisco and Anthony Firkser from the Titans. I have a similar skill-set to those two players. It’s been really cool to watch their film and learn from those guys. I pay a lot of attention to what Kyle Juszczyk does in the run game. They do a lot of misdirection blocking with him. It’s really cool. With Anthony Firkser, I love how the Titans flex him out wide to the perimeter on third down. Whether he’s a check-down option or whatever, he made so many big plays on third down. I love watching both of those players.

JM: Those are two great choices. I’ve really appreciated your time today. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on John Raine?

JR: When you pick me, you’re getting a player that can do everything on offense. I can catch the ball as a tight end and I can block for our running back. I can be used as a decoy. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win games.

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network