With their collegiate careers behind them, eight former Wisconsin Badgers will take part in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.
With four players from each side of the ball, the Badgers should have their bases covered on most days of coverage on the NFL Network. On offense, fullback Alec Ingold, and offensive linemen Michael Deiter, Beau Benzschawel and David Edwards will look to improve their draft stock. Defensively, linebackers TJ Edwards, Ryan Connelly and Andrew Van Ginkel and safety D’Cota Dixon will show what they can do in an attempt to woo scouts and personnel.
While obviously we won’t know exactly how the players will test, for the sake of fun, let’s take a look at how I think they could test in some of the events, and what a good time would be for the prospects.
[Ed. note: For those players that have already had their measurables taken on Wednesday, we included those as well.]
Alec Ingold, FB
40-yard dash: 4.75 seconds
Broad Jump: 9’4”
Ingold, the only true fullback invited to the combine, is in a good situation to improve his stock and ensure that he’s drafted in April’s NFL Draft. While no one is going to confuse a fullback with a speed demon, if Ingold runs under a 4.8, he will show he is more than a blocker and someone teams should look to use out of the backfield.
Be sure to check out our interviews with Ingold, Benzschawel and Deiter during 2019 Senior Bowl week!
Michael Deiter, OL
Weight: 308 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.12 seconds
Bench: 21 reps
He was down under 305 in Mobile, but I expect Deiter back up closer to 310 or so for the combine [Ed. note: Owen wrote this a couple of days’ ago]. After being listed at 328 during spring before his junior year, Deiter has made an effort to trim unnecessary bulk while retaining his strength and athleticism. As long as he puts up over 20 reps of 225 and is somewhere in the 5.1-5.2 range, his athleticism and body composition will be confirmed to scouts, who already know about his 54 career starts at three different positions along the offensive line. Deiter should end up a top 50-65 selection.
Beau Benzschawel, OL
Weight: 311 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.21
Bench: 23 reps
Benzschawel saved his best football for his last year in Madison, which definitely boosted his stock. He is another guy who is more athletic than the “big lineman from Wisconsin” stigma normally carries. His weight was also down in Mobile, weighing in at 307 at the Senior Bowl. I’d expect him to be back up a smidgeon, which shouldn’t hurt him at all. Again, bench will be important for Benzschawel, as teams that want him as a gap scheme offensive lineman know his mentality, but will look for the physical traits to back that up.
David Edwards, OT
40-yard dash: 4.99 seconds
Bench: 20 reps
Edwards, in my opinion, has the best chance to blow the combine wide open. The former tight end is going to test better than Deiter or Benzschawel, and he can make himself a lot of money with some eye-popping test numbers. I’d be shocked if Edwards ran slower than 5.10 and could sneak close to that sub-5.00 category. He will jump well also. Edwards could move himself from the 45-50 range up around the top 20 or so with a big time performance in Indy.
Ryan Connelly, LB
40-yard dash: 4.67 seconds
Bench press: 17-plus
Connelly is coming off of a core muscle injury that hampered his senior season from an athletic standpoint, but not from a production standpoint. While Connelly was a star in Madison, likely his first path onto the field in the NFL is through special teams, so him running under 4.70 would be a good start to that. His vertical jump is also projected, according to his Pledge It fundraiser “Ryan Connelly Raising Up for My Mom” that is linked to this drill, is to be around 33 inches.
If he can bench somewhere in the 16-20 range, he would do himself some favors to the NFL scouts, as Connelly isn’t an imposing linebacker; he’s similar body wise to former Badger Jack Cichy.
Be sure to listen to our latest podcast with Ryan as he breaks down his fundraising efforts, his training for the NFL Combine and explains the injury that kept him out of the Pinstripe Bowl on this week’s episode! You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and pretty much everywhere where you listen to your favorite podcasts!
T.J. Edwards, LB
Weight: Under 245 pounds
40-yard dash: Under 4.85 seconds
Bench: 23 reps
Short shuttle (5-10-5): Under 4.5 seconds
T.J. Edwards is one of the best linebackers to ever play at the University of Wisconsin. However, I think Edwards has some limited upside in the NFL due to his athletic shortcomings. I think T.J. is going to have to drop some bulk in an attempt to mitigate the athletic and speed issues he might have at the next level. I think it would go a long way to easing those concerns if Edwards runs sub-4.80. His side-to-side agility would also be validated if he ends up under 4.5 in the 5-10-5 drill.
Andrew Van Ginkel, LB
Weight: Over 235 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.75 seconds
Three-cone: Under 7.20 seconds
AVG is one of the least clear evaluations of a Badger player that we’ve had in recent years. A third rusher in 2017, he started last season but an injury hampered his production. He could bulk up and play EDGE, or he could adjust and end up as an off-ball linebacker, using his range and athleticism. The vertical jump and three-cone drill could eventually leading the evaluators as to where to put him. With an elite three-cone, he could end up on the EDGE.
D’Cota Dixon, DB
40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds
Bench press: 24 reps
Broad jump: Over 10’0”
D’Cota Dixon is one of the best human interest stories in this draft and has overcome an incredible life to be a very good safety, but more importantly a great ambassador of the Wisconsin football program. However for the NFL, Dixon will have to exhibit his athleticism in order for teams to buy in to his as anything more than a special teams demon. If he runs anything under 4.65, he will be fine, and Dixon should jump very well. I expect him to be one of the higher bench pressers among defensive backs as well.