After another 10-win season, Wisconsin's latest group of seniors departs Madison near the top of the career wins-for-a-class rankings despite all of the coaching... chaos, the Badgers have seen in recent years. These players fought until the end, and leave UW with consecutive bowl wins. Up to eight Badgers could be on NFL teams come August, but only three were invited to this week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
First, there's the star quarterback. A consensus top prospect, he'll likely be targeted at the top of the draft. He's got every trait you look for in a prospect. He's a big pocket passer, has great hair and all of the confidence in the world. Word is teams are trying to leap up into the top of the first round to get... Bo Callahan? Oh wait, this isn't Draft Day. But now that you're all hot and bothered, here are the three Badgers headed to the combine:
*How to read the heights below: "6045" = Six-foot-four and five-eighths inches. All measurements are projected.
QB Joel Stave
40 Time: 5.20
Possibly the most polarizing player in Badger history, Stave leaves Madison with a checkered legacy. Despite his school-record 31 career wins, Stave is facing an uphill battle toward making the NFL. The last quarterback to receive an invite to this year's combine, Stave will head into Lucas Oil Stadium with low expectations, and that's to his advantage. Many high-profile quarterbacks decline to throw at the combine due to the lack of continuity with the receivers in attendance and fears that some poor throws due to said lack of continuity could affect their draft stock.
Stave, who's not always known for his accuracy, should be in his element in Indy. He'll be throwing to much more talented players than he did in college. He's also not really known for his athleticism, so if he tests average-to-poorly, again, no one will be floored.
Ultimately, this is a nice platform for Stave to have a good day. Granted, he'll be outclassed by nearly all of the other QBs in attendance, but to be invited at all speaks to what the "big draft" or NFL teams think of him. Stave will likely be an interview favorite, as his knowledge of the game will maybe win coaches over more than his physical abilities will.
OT Tyler Marz
40 Time: 5.35
Arm Length: 33in
After a very solid career starting at left tackle for the Badgers over three years Marz is built exactly how you'd anticipate. He's thick throughout his frame and isn't really an athletic specimen; truth be told, other than the bench, I expect to be very underwhelmed by Marz at the combine, and that's OK. Marz played left tackle admirably over his career, playing against several talented pass rushers. While he was never a liability in pass protection, it's not his strong point. He doesn't have great feet, and is pretty stiff athletically. Again, completely expected and OK. Marz's best fit in the NFL is either as a right tackle or at guard. I expect him to test like one.
When I played in college, people would ask me how our combines went. I'd always answer the same: "I didn't find out much new. I'm still fat, slow and can't jump." I expect this to be a bit like Marz's showing in Indy. Any evaluators looking for Marz to blow them away athletically are barking up the wrong tree, but he'll test well enough. Marz doesn't have much to lose here, but not a lot to win, either.
LB Joe Schobert
40 Time: 4.73
Arm Length: 31 1/2in
A fan favorite in Madison, Joe "The Show" got absolutely everything he could out of his physical abilities for the Badgers. The All-American is a great story from almost walking on at North Dakota State to walking on at Wisconsin to, now, finding himself on the verge of being a NFL player.
Schobert won't be an elite athlete at the next level. He won't even be an above-average athlete like he was in college. He'll win in the NFL with his smarts and play-recognition abilities. He played 3-4 outside linebacker in college, but he likely won't be able to play that position in the pros due to his short arms. He's also not super fast for a linebacker, so the 40 won't help him a ton. Where Schobert will actually be alright is in the field drills. He does well in coverage, and his hip fluidity will be on display there.
Schobert is another guy who will likely win more people over in the interviews than he will on the field, and considering he was a walk-on, that's OK as well.
This group of Badgers will continue the narrative of Wisconsin being a bunch of unathletic white guys, and considering it consists of a former two-star offensive tackle and two walk-ons, you'll have that. However, I expect all three of these players to hold their own at the combine and make NFL teams in some capacity this season.