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Badger Bits: On Russell Wilson and the NFL Draft

As much hubbub as Russell Wilson's transfer to Wisconsin generated when the news broke last June, it barely so much as a blip on the radar for NFL scouts. As good as Wilson had been in his three seasons quarterbacking North Carolina State, he was just another too-short prospect whose skills wouldn't transfer over to the NFL. Sure, maybe he could crack a roster somewhere, but surely there was a reason the guy chose a professional baseball career over one in football.

But then something remarkable happened. Wilson somehow outplayed his incredible early-season hype, and it was clear from the beginning he had a chance to have a historically significant season. I remember in one of Adam's columns from around that time, he simply stated, "Admit it, he's better than you thought he'd be," or something of that nature. Despite learning the entire Wisconsin playbook in about three weeks, Wilson managed to surpass all reasonable expectations in the 2011 season, passing for 10.3 yards per attempt with 33 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.

It became impossible for media draftniks and scouts to ignore, and Wilson steadily creeped up draft boards throughout the season. This week, he officially informed the Colorado Rockies he would use the next few months to prepare for the NFL draft instead of preparing for spring training. He project as a fourth round pick, according to a Dallas Cowboys executive quoted in the article. ranks Wilson as the No. 10 quarterback and No. 149 player overall, which more or less matches up with the aforementioned executive's assessment.

Despite his height, No. 10 seems a bit low to me. Then again, quarterbacks do tend to fly off the board quickly. It will only take one team to fall in love with Wilson and perhaps "reach" for him a bit in the second or third round. Wilson may be short, but Drew Brees is only an inch or so taller, and the Saints signal-caller is coming off one of the best quarterbacking seasons of all time. Wilson is also high-character guy, and if Tim Tebow's first-round selection and recent "success" with the Denver Broncos teaches us anything, it's that high-character guys will get a chance.

Hoops and Hockey Links

The Badgers picked up their biggest win of the season yesterday in West Lafayette, where they hadn't won in more than six years. Here's a recap.

Former Badger and current Milwaukee Bucks forward Jon Leuer has been one of the biggest rookie surprises of the young NBA season thus far. He made his first start of the season last night, scoring 15 points in a Bucks win.

Check out the All-Star edition of Chuck's Badgers in the NHL series.

Football Links

it looks like Zach Azzanni will be the next Wisconsin wide receivers coach, though no deal is in place yet.

Nick Toon's reportedly injured his foot earlier this week, but it's not serious.

Barry Alvarez is in favor of a plus-one BCS model.

Tom Dienhart picked the Badgers to finish second (behind postseason-ineligible Ohio State) in the 2012 Leaders division race.

The Badgers are featured in three of Brian Bennett's top four moments from the 2011 B1G season. [ESPN Insider required]

Bucky's 5th Quarter turned three years old yesterday. I've only been here a fraction of that time, but it's been fun. Thanks everyone.