In the 2016 Draft, the Wisconsin Badgers had two players selected: Joe Schobert to the Cleveland Browns at pick No. 99 and Derek Watt to the then-San Diego Chargers at pick No. 198.
This week, the Badgers could have that many players drafted in the first round. I anticipate this trend to continue the longer Paul Chryst is in charge of the program. The cupboards were pretty bare when Chryst returned to Madison, but the talent level is slowly recovering to levels previously seen in 2010-2012. A bit of a litmus test for the program: this year, the Badgers will not have the same number of prospects drafted as an FCS program like last season (Southern Utah).
Here’s where I think this year’s crop of Badgers will be selected.
Pick No. 23: New York Giants select Ryan Ramczyk
The Giants made a major mistake by selecting Ereck Flowers eighth overall in 2015. (For some highly entertaining tweets, search what I thought about that pick on Twitter.) The combination of Ereck “I don’t look at what I’m blocking” Flowers and Marshall Newhouse has nearly gotten Eli Manning killed over the past two seasons and it’s time to admit defeat by upgrading the offensive line. Ramczyk will be a Day 1 starter at either tackle position.
Pick No. 28: Dallas Cowboys select T.J. Watt
While I understand the reasoning behind Packers (and most Badgers) fans wanting T.J. Watt to end up in green and gold, other NFL teams like Watt as well. While I’ve been pretty outspoken about my thoughts on Watt’s draft prospects, there’s no denying his physical potential. In Dallas, which desperately needs pass-rush help, he would likely play right defensive end. Rod Marinelli is the best defensive line coach in the NFL, so it would be a good situation for the youngest Watt brother.
Pick No. 94: Pittsburgh Steelers select Vince Biegel
The Steelers need some #juice in their pass rush and Biegel would give it to them. Biegel’s motor runs white-hot non-stop and he will create a lot of havoc for the Steel Curtain. Biegel, a football legacy, finds his way into the top 100 and could compete to start at outside linebacker opposite Bud Dupree. Biegel will also be a special teams stud. The Steelers also give linebackers crappy numbers *glares at Packers, so Biegel might be able to keep 47.
Pick No. 176: Cincinnati Bengals select Corey Clement
The Bengals met extensively with Clement at UW’s pro day and Clement is their type of runner. A bruiser who is built thick and runs low to the ground, Clement is also an underrated receiver. With Gio Bernard recovering from an injury, Clement could ease some of those concerns. Also with Jeremy Hill seemingly in decline from a couple of seasons ago, Clement could push the former LSU star.
Pick No. 239: New England Patriots select Sojourn Shelton
Maybe more so than any other NFL team, Bill Belichick’s Patriots are excellent at working with defensive backs. Shelton started 51 games for Wisconsin and the Patriots value versatility and experience, two things Shelton provides. While he’s a #SmallCorner, he has extensive experience playing outside at UW, especially against bigger receivers. Shelton will make his living in the slot, though.
Pick No. 249: Atlanta Falcons select Dare Ogunbowale
Ogunbowale worked his way into a draftable running back after walking on to the Badgers as a cornerback. In Atlanta, the Falcons have two fantastic runners in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Ogunbowale could help out in the return game and he also has pretty extensive experience as a third-down back.
Undrafted Free Agents
Robert Wheelwright, WR - Kansas City Chiefs
Wheelwright mentioned at pro day that he’d spoken with Green Bay, Kansas City, and Seattle—three teams whose GMs came from the Al Davis-Ron Wolf-Ted Thompson tree.
Leo Musso, S - Los Angeles Chargers
Musso’s most likely position in the NFL will be as a Cover 3, single-high free safety. His range and ball skills are his best attributes, and with Gus Bradley taking over the defense, Musso would fit this scheme.
Bart Houston, QB - Baltimore Ravens
Houston has a hose, so he’ll garner attention somewhere. Baltimore or Arizona are his most likely destinations, as his arm strength and ability to drive the ball downfield will endear him to Marty Mornhinweg, who uses Joe Flacco and Ryan Mallett in the same fashion.