A group of six former Wisconsin Badgers was invited this week to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, tying Ohio State for the most representatives from a Big Ten school.
Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland, Ryan Groy, Jacob Pedersen, Dezmen Southward and James White will have the opportunity to climb draft board at the combine, set for Feb. 22-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. In total, 36 Big Ten alums were invited and 13 programs boasted more than five invitations each.
Schools with the most invitations
Florida State: 9
Notre Dame: 9
North Carolina: 7
Ohio State: 6
Invitations for Big Ten schools
Ohio State: 6
Michigan State: 4
Penn State: 3
Back in late January, we asked Bleacher Report's Associate NFL Editor and noted Wisconsin guy Ian Kenyon to give his takes on the draft prospects of eligible Badgers. Here's what he said about those Combine-bound:
Borland's draft stock is as high as it's going to get right now. He played marvelously at the Senior Bowl, forced a fumble in the game itself (his signature) and showed the instincts that make scouts salivate. The downside with Borland is everything that teams measure. I don't mind that Borland is 5'11; guys like Zach Thomas have gotten away with that. What bothers me is that Borland has 28 7/8 inch arms which are by far the shortest at the position. It's hard to shed blocks and use proper hand technique when you're coming in with short arms. The lack of height and arm length give him a major disadvantage, which is too bad because if he were ideal height/arm length he's a top-20 pick in my opinion. That's why I say his draft stock is about as high as it'll ever be right now, the things teams will criticize are impossible for him to change. Right now I'd have him the mid-to-late second round range.
I was fairly shocked by James White's measurements at the Senior Bowl. Matt Waldman, who runs the Rookie Scouting Report, and I were discussing James White a couple weeks ago and we both expected him to measure in around 5'10, 190 and run slower than most expect. However, he came in at the Senior Bowl at a rock solid 5'9, 206 which is ideal for an NFL back. Then he came out and won most outstanding player for the North team. I'd say his draft range right now is the 5th-6th round. He's hurt by the fact that there were around 15 underclassmen who declared at running back this year, so a lot of running backs are going to end up falling.
Draft analysts are really starting to come around on Abbrederis. He's looking like a top-100 lock and has the potential to go as high as the second round. He never put up gaudy numbers playing in Wisconsin's run oriented offense, but he has been their best receiver for 3-4 years and when you turn on the tape you can tell why. Most analysts that I know reference the Ohio State game where Abbrederis burned Bradley Roby multiple times. Abbrederis is faster than you'd think and is a master route runner which was on display at Senior Bowl practices.
He's not the biggest or the fastest guy which doesn't help him. At around 6'3, 245 [pounds], he's not going to be a guy with a high ceiling, but I like him as a possible move-blocker and receiving option. He's looking like a 6th-7th rounder right now.
Sounds like he's looking at a conversion from safety to cornerback which I think suits him better at the next level. He's going to be a project and someone that I can see a team using a priority free agent claim on after the draft as a developmental cornerback prospect.
Groy is a borderline draftable prospect right now. He's massive (6'5, 325), but not particularly athletic, the typical Wisconsin mauler. Could be a fit for a power running team.
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