Joe Schobert is looking to be one of three former Badger walk-ons to make the NFL this season, along with quarterback Joel Stave and wide receiver Alex Erickson. Schobert, who finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten in sacks in 2015 with 9.5, really burst onto the scene this past season after a solid 2014 campaign. Consequently, he earned All-American honors for his efforts in 2015.
In Dave Aranda's 3-4 attacking scheme, Schobert played the field outside linebacker position, aside from his pass rushing responsibilities, and was asked to drop into coverage and play man coverage. This bodes well looking towards the future for Schobert, as he won't be a featured pass rusher in the NFL.
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It's somewhat unknown where Schobert will play in the NFL; he could play a SAM linebacker in a 4-3 front, or he could play either inside position in a 3-4 front. Schobert doesn't project well as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme moving forward due to his short arms and his smaller frame. Moving him off the ball makes sense in that it keeps him clean and able to better utilize his natural athleticism.
Schobert is the first linebacker product of the Badgers' switch to a 3-4 to play in the NFL (Chris Borland was recruited to play 4-3). It'll be interesting to see how this trend progresses moving forward (looks at Vince Biegel).
Joe Schobert, LB
Arm length: 31.5"
40-yard dash: 4.76
Vertical jump: 33.5"
Broad jump: 9'3"
Pro agility: 4.30
3-cone drill: 7.11
Bench press: 22 reps
Strengths: Highly productive over the past two seasons for Wisconsin. Plays with a great motor. Has a knack for being around the football. Good size for the position. Displays good speed for the position. Good in coverage, trails well. Shows good strength against the run, willing to engage bigger blockers. Shows high football IQ, especially when rushing the passer. Knows his limitations. Knack for making big plays in big moments. Improved every year of college. Had his two best games in the two biggest games of the season, vs. Alabama and Iowa.
Weaknesses: Physical limitations. Short arms, no growth potential at the next level, frame is maxed out. A good athlete, but he won't win because of his athleticism. Gets swallowed up in the run game. Won't be a featured pass rusher in the NFL. Disappears for stretches. Sack production went way down as year went on.
Overall: Schobert is a feel-good story, as he went from potential North Dakota running back to Wisconsin walk-on to outside linebacker to All-American. While he enjoyed quite a bit of success in college, he likely won't eclipse that level of success at the next level. Schobert's career will likely mirror that of former Badger linebacker Nick Greisen; a solid depth linebacker who can start if needed, but will likely be a special-teams ace for 8-to-10 years. Schobert also adds value as a situational pass-rushing threat. That's not where he's gonna make his money moving forward, but teams will never turn down pass-rushing help. Expect Schobert to have the most productive career of the Wisconsin prospects in this class.
Projection: Rounds 4 or 5