This is my fourth year performing this exercise, and it’s been a fun way to try to project where the Badgers in this draft class could end up on NFL teams and in rookie minicamps.
The Badgers could have 7-8 guys realistically drafted this upcoming weekend, but the more likely number is in the 4-6 range. Let’s take a look to see where some of the former Badgers could come off of the board.
::Insert NFL commissioner Roger Goddell or delegated draft announcer’s voice here::
With the 57th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select: Michael Deiter, guard, Wisconsin
I mentioned this potential selection on an upcoming Bleeding Green Nation Radio (part of the SB Nation Teams Brands Network). Deiter, who started 54 career games between left tackle, left guard and center at Wisconsin, provides the versatility the Eagles covet in their offensive linemen. This should be the area where Deiter comes off of the board in the second round. He could likely be a starter at left guard for the Eagles in a year or two when they decide to move on from Isaac Seumalo.
With the 79th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select: David Edwards, tackle, Wisconsin
The slide for Dave Edwards ends in the middle of the third round, which seemed impossible after the 2017 season. However, injuries, which affected his play, push Edwards down the board here. The Falcons currently have Ryan Schroeder entrenched as their right tackle, but as he gets older, the franchise could look to get younger and more athletic at that particular tackle spot. Edwards fits the bill. He would be an excellent fit in their zone running scheme and wouldn’t have to start immediately, allowing him to continue to develop.
With the 108th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Football Giants select: Beau Benzschawel, guard, Wisconsin
It is no secret that Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman has an affinity for drafting the big guys and building his teams on physicality and strength. Enter: Benzschawel, a three-plus-year starter at Wisconsin. New York began their rebuild of their offensive line a year ago, signing left tackle Nate Solder and drafting left guard Will Hernandez in the second round. Benzschawel immediately steps in at right guard for the Giants and is a dependable starter for the next 6-8 years. The 2018 All-American needs to continue to develop as a pass protector, but his ability in the run game will get him on the field quickly for Big Blue.
For what it is worth, Giants offensive line coach Hal Hunter was among a group of NFL coaches putting the Wisconsin o-linemen through drills during Badgers’ pro day in March.
With the 140th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select: Alec Ingold, fullback, Wisconsin
In his first press conference with the Raiders at the NFL Combine last year, Gruden stated that he wanted to bring the game of football back to 1998. Well, here you go.
Ingold played for the Raiders’ coaching staff down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. He endeared himself to the Raiders, getting multiple helmet stickers throughout the game from Gruden. With Mike Mayock now at general manager for the organization, they will be looking to make the Raiders a tougher, more physical football team—and Ingold does just that.
With the 191st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select: Ryan Connelly, linebacker, Wisconsin
This pick makes too much sense. The Ravens, who will be looking to stock up on linebackers with C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs now set to play elsewhere, find a rock solid depth/rotational linebacker in the sixth round with Connelly. The former walk-on can play Will (weak side) or Sam (strong side) linebacker in the Ravens’ defense, which amoebas from a 3-4 to a 4-3 base. He will be a core special teamer in Baltimore, and should quickly become a fan favorite for the Purple and Black.
With the 232nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select: T.J. Edwards, linebacker, Wisconsin
The Giants double up on Badgers in this scenario, and get another tough, dependable football player for Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur to continue their rebuild. Edwards will fit in nicely as an inside linebacker in coordinator James Boettcher’s 3-4 defense. He will also contribute on special teams and continue to build the tough, blue collar identity that the Giants are looking to cultivate.
Undrafted Free Agents
S D’Cota Dixon: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dixon just seems like a Steeler pick to me. Dixon reminds me a bit of former Steeler safety Shamarko Thomas, who was a tone setter and spark plug for the Steelers’ special teams units for years, and likely fits the same role Dixon will have as a professional.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel: Minnesota Vikings
Van Ginkel slips through the cracks a bit here in this scenario, a man without an island. Is he a 3-4 outside linebacker? Is he a 3-4 inside linebacker? Is he a 4-3 outside linebacker? The Vikings bet on the latter in this case, allowing Van Ginkel to learn and follow in the footsteps of another large, lanky 4-3 outside linebacker that was thought to be a pass rusher out of college in Anthony Barr.
DL Olive Sagapolu: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have two plus-sized, short defensive tackles in Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce, and hope to strike gold with little risk involved taking a chance on Sagapolu. A four year starter at nose tackle in the Badgers’ 3-4, Sagapolu will plug up inside run lanes and learn to use leverage in pass rush from the two shorter-in-stature linemen the Ravens have currently.
Rookie camp invites
Running back Taiwan Deal - Tennessee Titans
Running back Chris James - Chicago Bears
Tight end Zander Neuville - Dallas Cowboys
Offensive lineman Micah Kapoi - Los Angeles Chargers