Badger Bits: Ryan Groy will indeed be Wisconsin's next left tackle

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

For a unit that was mediocre at best last season, continuity is sorely needed heading into this year. Groy’s move is one more wrinkle in yet another strange offseason.

I know we've been fairly certain of Ryan Groy's move to left tackle from left guard for quite a while now, but Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal made it official yesterday afternoon.

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound senior from Middleton, Wis., has played all over the line since he stepped on campus in 2009, so his versatility should help his transition out to the primary pass protecting spot. Wisconsin continues to churn out linemen that can seemingly play everywhere, with Groy being this year's version of first-round draft pick Travis Frederick.

Groy played well in his two starts at left tackle against Minnesota and Michigan State last season when Ricky Wagner was sidelined with a knee injury. In fact, I thought Groy looked really comfortable on the outside during those two starts. He stepped up in a tough spot and generally handled the likes of premier pass-rushers Marcus Rush and Vernon Gholson.

Wisconsin's coaching staff desperately needs Groy's transition back out to tackle to be successful because he's the one staple on that offensive line. I don't really know if you can count on anybody else to be consistently productive. Last year's collective unit was mired in a season-long slump, save for that brilliant Big Ten Championship Game against Nebraska.

That slump cannot linger into this 2013 campaign.

Here is Groy talking about his imminent move to left tackle:

"I think it's where I need to be and I think it's where the team needs me to be," Groy said. "Hopefully, I'll have a great senior year and lead us on to good things."

I was lucky enough to speak with an NFL scout at my day job yesterday, and in the process inquired about some of Wisconsin's draftable talent this season. One of the guys he was quick to bring up was Groy, who he felt was underrated as a prospect.

Right now, Groy is projected as a guard at the next level, and scouts peg him as a fifth or sixth-round pick in next year's draft. He's better moving to his right than his left, which could be a concern if quick pass-rushers try to get around him on the edge. He'll be protecting Stave's (or Phillips' or McEvoy's) blind side, so the ability to pick up rushers in space will be crucial.

After talking about Groy, I asked just a couple of more questions and received two last little nuggets for Wisconsin fans to pay attention to this season.

One, Melvin Gordon is looked at by many scouts as already being a better pro prospect than Montee Ball. And finally, look out for Arizona St. The Sun Devils are fast -- really fast. Having to face that speed on a west coast road trip under a new regime could spell an early season loss for the Badgers.

LINKS:

Travis Frederick continues to excel in his new role as the Dallas Cowboys' starting center.

Mike Lucas from UWBadgers.com spoke to Ben Brust about his NASCAR experience.

Since the NBA Draft is later tonight, here is the latest mock draft from Chris Mannix of SI. Personally, I'd try my hardest to get out of that top slot if I'm the Cavs. Noel or Len with the first pick is a stretch either way.

Four Badgers swimmers are in Indy for the U.S. World Championship trials.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg delivers a nice profile of Ohio St. QB Braxton Miller. I'd be shocked if he isn't at least an invitee to New York for the Heisman presentation this year.

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