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What to expect at Wisconsin’s 2019 pro day

Which former Badgers can improve their NFL Draft stock?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Eight former Wisconsin Badgers descended upon Indianapolis earlier this month for what was essentially the biggest job interviews of their collective lives: the NFL Scouting Combine.

At Wisconsin’s pro day on Wednesday, they along with a few other prospects will have a second opportunity to make good impressions on those who have the power to decide their professional fate in the NFL Draft late next month

According to a UW release last week, 13 former Badgers from this past season—along with two other former players from years past and a UW-Whitewater standout—should be on hand in the annual event that brings together NFL personnel and scouts in Madison.

The list includes the following:

  • Offensive lineman Beau Benzschawel
  • Inside linebacker Ryan Connelly
  • Running back Taiwan Deal
  • Offensive lineman Michael Deiter
  • Safety D’Cota Dixon
  • Offensive lineman David Edwards
  • Inside linebacker T.J. Edwards
  • Fullback Alec Ingold
  • Running back Chris James
  • Offensive lineman Micah Kapoi
  • Tight end Zander Neuville
  • Nose tackle Olive Sagapolu
  • Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel
  • Former Wisconsin running back Rachid Ibrahim
  • Former Wisconsin safety Serge Trezy

Among those participating are a few prospects who worked out in Indianapolis and have the opportunity to remedy some less-than-stellar testing numbers and improve their draft stock.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

David Edwards, OT

Potentially the first prospect drafted from this year’s crop of Badgers, Edwards held his own in Indianapolis but likely will take another opportunity to improve his athletic testing numbers in Madison. While Edwards looked fluid in the on-field drills, his testing numbers can certainly be improved. Once thought to be a slam-dunk first-round prospect, Edwards has the opportunity to continue to impress NFL decision-makers and make himself some more money with a good workout.

T.J. Edwards, LB

The other Edwards didn’t test athletically at the combine. While weighing in at 230 pounds, lighter than expected by most, he reportedly injured his ankle while training prior to the Combine and sat out the testing and drills in Indianapolis, and would rather workout in Madison. Edwards’s draft stock hinges on his athleticism that he’s able to showcase in front of scouts. A throwback linebacker, Edwards will need to show he’s capable athletically in order to prove to NFL personnel that he’s more than a thumper.

D’Cota Dixon, DB

While I doubt there is one NFL team that isn’t massively impressed with Dixon’s life story and all of the adversity he’s overcome to get to this point in his life, Dixon’s athletic testing left a bit to be desired at the combine. An official 40-yard dash time of 4.81 seconds in particular was a bit damning to the hopes that Dixon would test like an average NFL athlete. He may be the biggest benefactor of the Pro Day on Wednesday in an attempt to improve upon his workout numbers and rehabilitate the impression he made on NFL scouts and executives in Indianapolis.

I also expect a couple other prospects to turn some heads on Wednesday. Look for both running backs Chris James and Taiwan Deal to garner interest from scouts, along with defensive lineman Olive Sagapolu.

Side note: UW-Whitewater offensive lineman Nate Trewyn, a Milton, Wis., native, will also be participating at the pro day. A four-year starter (one year at UM-Mankato, three at Whitewater), he is a legitimate NFL prospect who participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January. He’s one to watch on Wednesday.