On Thursday, I decided it was in Wisconsin's best hypothetical interest to get a quarterback in our trade machine. Now I'm here to address the Badgers' biggest need for the 2014 season -- wide receiver. Can you imagine last year's team without Jared Abbrederis? Shoot, that's what this year's squad looks like. I don't mean to be cynical, but the wide receivers that head coach Gary Andersen has are not good, at least in terms of upperclassmen (I'll spare you Kenzel Doe), and it's not like the quarterback position is all that more stable to even out the lack of playmaking ability.
I wish I had a crystal ball to project how Reggie Love will pan out or Jazz Peavy or even some of the freshmen, like George Rushing and Krenwick Sanders. I'm sure that would alleviate many headaches around Madison, but I do have a crystal ball for the wide receiver Andersen and his staff should court.
Trade proposal No. 2: Two 2017 scholarship offers, Jordan Frederick, Derek Watt for Auburn's Melvin Ray
I can't state enough the need for a play-making wide receiver. The offense needs someone to stretch the field from the slot or out wide, and just go to work on defenders. Could Melvin Gordon fill this role? Absolutely, but that's just foolish talk. You may have heard of Melvin Ray, who caught a 50-yard score in the BCS championship game against Florida State, his first career touchdown, as a matter of fact.
While I like Ray's size -- he stands at 6'3 -- the biggest thing that I like about his game is his experience at the highest level. Experience is an underrated aspect in college football, and it pays dividends when the going gets tough on both sides of the ball. Why do teams like Texas A&M the past two seasons and the 2011-2012 UW team not live up to what they have on paper? No experience on the defensive side of the ball. They had plenty of talent and some experience on offense, but the defenses were a giant mess. They simply didn't have that one guy that could pull it together for them. Transitioning to this year's roster, I'm frankly not comfortable with the experience to be legitimately relied upon.
Wisconsin's wide receiver group needs exactly this: an impact guy that can be targeted when the Badgers are down four late in the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium against the Iowa Hawkeyes on 3rd-and-7 from Iowa's 37-yard line. Again, I know Gordon can put the team on his back, and I'm aware that even if opponents stack the box against the Kenosha Bradford product and former Hawkeye commit, he'll find 4 yards.
But UW needs to diversify their assets, plain and simple, and Ray fits the bill.