Yes, it’s already time for “way too early” NFL mock drafts.
We’re a year out, essentially, but there are a few Wisconsin Badgers receiving early consideration, including those who claimed some All-American selections for their play during the 2017 season.
One mock draft below even has three consecutive Badgers being drafted late in the first round—including two to the Green Bay Packers, who received a first-round pick from the New Orleans Saints after a trade in the first round of this year’s draft.
Before that, let’s start off with SBNation’s expert, Dan Kadar, who sees two Wisconsin standouts working their way into his first-round mock for 2019:
David Edwards: No. 8 to the Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis smartly drafted two starting guards in Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith in the top 40 this year. But there is still a need at right tackle for the Colts. Wisconsin is loaded on the offensive line next season, and Edwards is arguably the best piece.
T.J. Edwards: No. 21 to the San Francisco 49ers
Who knows what’s going to happen with Reuben Foster. If his legal troubles persist, the 49ers could seek his replacement. Third-round pick Fred Warner is more of a coverage linebacker while Edwards is good at coming up against the run.
Again, take these with a grain of salt for now, as injuries, breakout players, and other circumstances can always arise before the end of the 2018 regular season. However, here are a few other draft experts’ opinions of what could lie ahead for some of Wisconsin’s best players:
Michael Deiter: No. 31 to the Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the most well-built teams in the NFL. Because of how well general manager Howie Roseman and his staff have designed the roster, there aren’t many needs to address at the end of Round 1. That means best player available at a possible need comes into play.
Michael Dieter plays left tackle for the Badgers but projects best as an interior offensive lineman in the pros. The Eagles could be looking to get younger (and cheaper) at guard or center in the near future, and Dieter’s [sic] toughness in the run game and size (6’6”, 325 lbs) are an ideal fit in Philly.
Beau Benzschawel: No. 13 to the Colts
While he’s not as good of a guard prospect as Qenton Nelson was this year, Benzschawel has similar top-20 upside. He’s the best player on what should be a loaded Wisconsin offensive line.
Deiter: No. 24 to the Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta needs to start rebuilding it offensive line, and after passing on the position early in the 2018 NFL Draft, that need will persist next year. Deiter can offer tackle or guard value to his future team.
David Edwards: No. 25 to the Packers
The second offensive tackle and third lineman from Wisconsin who earns first-round consideration, Edwards is a massive, powerful tackle who could be a plug-and-play blocker in 2019.
T.J. Edwards: No. 26 to the Packers
The Packers might just stay in-state and draft only Wisconsin players in 2019. Edwards is the draft’s best inside linebacker and could earn first-round grades.
Deiter: No. 28 to the Packers
If Bryan Bulaga becomes a cap casualty, Deiter could be a viable replacement with the versatility to play either tackle spot, or even slide inside to guard.
David Edwards: No. 16 to the Tennessee Titans
The Titans have to pay Taylor Lewan a massive contract or lose him in free agency after 2018. If they do, it could make Jack Conklin too expensive to keep, maybe even on his $15 million-plus option year in 2020. Here they plan for the future at the position with yet another talented Big Ten lineman in Edwards.
Benzschawel: No. 19 to the Falcons
Let’s go ahead and assume Matt Ryan and Jake Matthews aren’t going anywhere. That could leave the Falcons looking for help at guard after not drafting any offensive linemen this year. This likely won’t be a particularly good class for interior offensive linemen, but Benzschawel might be worthy of a first-round pick.
Deiter: No. 27 to the Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs loaded up on defensive prospects in the 2018 draft, and they should spend next year looking for long-term starters on the offensive line. Dieter [sic] is a guy with better upside as a guard than a tackle, but the option is there to try him at tackle first and see if he can eventually replace Eric Fisher. Either way, the Chiefs should be able to land a starter in front of Patrick Mahomes with this pick.
David Edwards: No. 30 to the Los Angeles Rams