You've heard all of the names. Joe Thomas. Travis Frederick. Rick (nee Ricky, since he's a professional now) Wagner. Ryan Groy. Peter Konz. Kevin Zeitler. Gabe Carimi. Kraig Urbik. A veritable "who's who" of dominant collegiate offensive lineman from the last decade, all of whom suited up for the Wisconsin Badgers, and now NFL teams.
Wisconsin is one of the few teams in the country that celebrates offensive linemen more than any other position, only running back is held in higher regard in Madison. While running back is the more glamorous position in college, the Badgers' offensive line success at the next level has far outpaced their flashier positioned counterparts.
Right tackle Rob Havenstein is the next in line to play and make an impact at the next level on Sundays. The consensus first-team All-Big Ten performer at right tackle helped pave the way for Badgers running backs to average 320.1 rushing yards per game, which was a school record. Wisconsin's offensive line also only allowed 13 sacks in 14 games, which is an even more amazing stat when you consider Wisconsin's quarterback play last year.
The Mount Airy, Md. native is projected to land anywhere from the second round to the fifth round, despite having a subpar showing at the NFL Combine, where his 16 reps on the 225-pound bench press was the lowest amongst any of the offensive linemen attendees. He rebounded and improved that number to 20 on Wisconsin's pro day, showing scouts that he will work hard at perceived deficiencies.
Tale of the tape
|Stat||Measurements (from NFL.com)|
Started 42 of 54 games that he played, including every game after his freshman season
NFL combine results
|40-yard Dash||Bench Press||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||20-yard Shuttle||60-yard Shuttle||3-cone Drill|
|5.46||16 reps||28.5"||96"||4.87 sec||N/A||8.28 sec|
*Havenstein was last in the bench press of any offensive linemen at the combine, was tied for sixth slowest time in the 20-yard shuttle, had the slowest three-cone drill time and was named the combine's Biggest Workout Loser
Havenstein tied a school record with 54 games played, so durability definitely falls under the "strengths" category for the hulking right tackle. Excellent size for an offensive lineman and surprisingly quick feet for a man of said size. NFL.com's Gil Brandt noted that Havenstein is, "one of those guys who plays a lot faster than his times would indicate." Something that doesn't get reported on often, but Havenstein excelled in, is holding calls. Havenstein had zero holds called against him in 2014 and gave up a mere 2.5 sacks.
In a somewhat shocking development given our country's obsession with "bigger is better," Havenstein's size may actually be a detriment to his NFL career. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Packers Blog said, "Havenstein does not have the lower-body strength of others in this group, and scouts will want to see how such a tall lineman moves and bends in various drills at the combine. They may worry that he plays too stiff." Also, despite playing on a successful team and being quite successful himself, Havenstein isn't exactly the most athletic dude on the planet which may scare some teams off that are looking for upside.
Trust me, Havenstein's in there. Look for No. 78.