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Wisconsin football: 2021 NFL Draft prospects

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TE Jake Ferguson and LB Jack Sanborn are rated highly by Pro Football Focus.

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Kent State v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

With Wisconsin Badgers football players returning to campus over the past week and starting workouts on Monday (today!!!) there is no better time than now to look ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft, right?

At the end of last week, Pro Football Focus released their list of top-five players at each position for next year’s draft. There were all of the names you’d expect like Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson RB Travis Etienne, LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase and Florida State DT Marvin Wilson but there were also a pair of Badgers listed.

TE Jake Ferguson and ILB Jack Sanborn were each ranked No. 5 at their respective positions, were they to decide to enter the draft after this season. Here is what PFF had to say about each player:

5. Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin

Ferguson may not have the athleticism of the guys ahead of him on this list, but he’s been consistently productive when called upon. He’s caught 30-plus passes for 400-plus yards and broken 7-plus tackles in each of his two seasons as a starter.

5. Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin

There’s a clear delineation between the top four linebackers in this class and the next, but Sanborn proved no slouch in his first season as a starter in 2018. The sophomore earned an 83.7 coverage grade with three picks, three pass breakups and a 37.4 passer rating allowed in his coverage. He’s still undersized at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, though, and he needs to add some explosiveness to his game.

Both players have things that the PFF experts think they could work on this season to improve their game and draft stock, with athleticism concerns being tops on the list. However, at a certain point their productivity speaks for itself and both Sanborn and Ferguson have produced at high levels in Madison.