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2019 NFL Draft: LB Ryan Connelly scouting report

The former walk-on made himself into an NFL prospect, now he’ll be looking to make himself an NFL player.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Connelly is one of the most Wisconsin stories in Badger history. Connelly, a former walk-on, found his way onto the field for his first prominent action after Chris Orr tore his ACL on the very first play of the game at Lambeau Field against LSU in 2016, and Connelly never relinquished his stranglehold on that starting position.

A Minnesota native, Connelly evolved into a tackling machine alongside his classmate and fellow inside linebacker T.J. Edwards, and I am sure the rest of the Big Ten Conference will not be heartbroken to see the two of them go to the NFL and stop terrorizing their running backs. Connelly is the slightly better athlete, but both should end up as NFL players.

Height: 6’2
Weight: 242 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds
Vertical jump: 34.5
Broad jump: 9’10”
Short shuttle: 4.31 seconds, 4.02 seconds*
Three-cone drill: 7.09 seconds
Bench press: 17 reps*

*All measurables except bench press taken from NFL.com’s Draft profile of Connelly, as he performed at the NFL Combine earlier this year; Connelly performed the bench and the short shuttle at Wisconsin’s pro day in March.

Strengths: Above average football intelligence, rarely out of position. At his best when attacking downhill. Has incredible intuition on knifing through the line of scrimmage on draws. Has experience in underneath zone coverage, has the hip fluidity to turn his hips and adjust to crossing routes. At his best in the run game playing downhill. Has special teams experience.

Weaknesses: Extremely aggressive as a tackler, which can lead to some misses. Not much experience in man coverage. Frame could be maxed out. Average athletically. Can he add mass to take on NFL offensive linemen at the second level?

Summary: Ryan Connelly is one hell of a football player. He, along with Edwards, have been fixtures in the Wisconsin defense over the past three seasons. Played through an injury for most of his senior season in 2018 where his abdominal muscles were torn off of the pubic bone; tough player. Likely a 4-3 ‘Sam’ (strong side) or ‘Will’ (weakside) linebacker. Will need to play special teams to stick while continuing to develop as a linebacker.

Round projection: Round 5—Round 7