As I continue going through these reports, a trend keeps occurring. Many of these guys were seemingly under-recruited, or self-made success stories that are now in a position to become a member of an NFL roster. This is a huge testament to the Wisconsin football program and the player development that occurs over a player's career in Madison.
Alex Erickson is another case of this. The walk-on from Darlington, Wis., went from playing intramural flag football to All-Big Ten wide receiver and leading the team in receiving in two consecutive seasons. This is particularly impressive, considering that Erickson was largely the only legitimate threat to opposing defenses over the past two seasons, including some spotty quarterback play.
Despite Erickson's achievements on the football field over the past two seasons, it was surprising that he wasn't extended an invite to one of the post-season all-star games. He was also excluded from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, so this put a lot of pressure on his pro day. He did well for himself.
Erickson will look to continue the trend of Wisconsin lead wide receivers making the NFL, following the likes of Jared Abbrederis and Nick Toon.
Alex Erickson, WR
40-yard dash: 4.44
Vertical jump: 34.5"
Broad jump: 9'8"
Pro agility: 3.88
3-cone drill: 6.65
Bench press: 14
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Strengths: Erickson was an ultra-productive receiver over the past two seasons. A true technician of the position, he uses his quick feet to create separation from defensive backs. The small nuances throughout the routes are strengths of Erickson. Explodes out of stem at the top of his route. A hands catcher, doesn't allow the ball into his body. Has shown the ability to consistently get open in big moments. Shows good vision running the ball after the catch. Erickson lined up both outside and in the slot for the Badgers, so he's familiar playing both. He also adds return value, as an experienced punt returner.
Weaknesses: Erickson lacks top-end speed at the next level. He rarely ran away from collegiate defenders, so I expect that to be further magnified in the NFL. This will likely limit him to slot-only duties. Erickson isn't an exceptional athlete, so he's going to need to depend on his football IQ and moxie to survive in the NFL. He has maxed out his frame, so he's not going to get any bigger.
Overall: I don't quite understand how Erickson was overlooked for some of the post-season festivities for some of the other athletes that were selected, but Erickson made his pro day opportunity count. His pro agility time was about as good as I've seen, and his three cone was also very impressive and will make NFL teams take notice. His ability to return kicks will help him quite a bit, as he's likely a slot-only receiver. Ultimately, Erickson is a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect, and that's completely OK. He's another card-carrying member of the "Wisconsin Walk-Ons Club" and he will garner the attention of scouts simply off of the: "Wisconsin has another receiver coming out this year? He'll be worth the look."
Projection: Round 7-Undrafted