After a tumultuous season where the Badgers somehow ended up 4-3 while fighting through injuries and a pandemic, ten former University of Wisconsin football players worked out for NFL personnel on Wednesday in the McClain Center. They were all looking to extend their football playing careers and achieve their dreams of playing in the NFL.
Thankfully, for nearly all of society, as the pandemic begins to be reigned in (hopefully), restrictions are being loosened slightly and NFL scouts (30 of 32 teams) were able to be in Madison in person to view and evaluate the prospects.
Official numbers from Wisconsin’s Pro Day. pic.twitter.com/8z5BK9VIfl— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) March 10, 2021
WHAT THESE NUMBERS MEAN
10 Yard Split - How quickly you get to top speed
40 Yard Dash - Pure speed
20 Shuttle - Ability to change directions
Three Cone - Ability to change directions in close quarters (slot receivers/pass rushers)
Broad/Vert - Linear explosion
Bench - Upper body strength/general weight room work ethic
Rachad Wildgoose cut his season, and Badgers’, career short after a broken shoulder blade against Northwestern, but performed well in Madison at Pro Day.
The 4.41 40 yard dash is impressive, as a guy who will primarily be a man-to-man corner in the NFL, that speed is a pre-requisite to hang with the faster receivers in the NFL. The 36-inch vertical jump and the 7.00 second three cone are also solid.
His broad jump being only 10 feet is slightly concerning, but isn’t a red flag. His bench press number is poor, but coming off of the upper body injury that ended his season, it is certainly understandable.
Wildgoose should be a player who rises throughout the draft cycle and despite not having a ton of hype due to only playing in three games, should be an enticing prospect for teams that run a ton of man coverage and press man, which he wasn’t asked to do often under Jim Leonhard.
Cole Van Lanen posted some nice testing numbers, especially for a player who is thought to have a path in the NFL at the guard position, rather than tackle like he played in Madison. 5.01 on his 40 yard dash is impressive for CVL, as well as his 30-inch vertical leap. This could bode well for a potential to stick at tackle, if teams think he has the necessary athleticism to handle NFL level pass rushers.
Eric Burrell was another former Badger who performed well. No one was expecting Burrell to run super fast, so 4.64 is probably about right. His 35.5-inch vertical and 10-foot plus broad jump. Burrell likely never projects to a starting safety in the NFL, but a third-safety to use in sub-packages and a valuable special team contributor are easy roles to see the near-three year starter for Jim Leonhard at safety fill.
JUST NEEDS A SHOT
Former Wisconsin DL Isaiahh Loudermilk was on hand, and the mammoth defensive lineman performed well for NFL personnel. At 6-foot-7 and around 295 pounds, Loudermilk’s frame is likely the most enticing thing about the former eight-man football star from Kansas, who truthfully was a solid defensive end for the Badgers, but whose play has never quite equaled the intriguing frame and athletic traits. Loudermilk could be an easy candidate for “his best football is still ahead of him”, due to him only playing 11 man football for five years at this point.
Garrett Groshek, who I remain steadfast in the belief, should make an NFL rookie camp and will be way harder to cut than he should be. A 4.59 forty yard dash is probably about right, but Groshek’s jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none skillset will make him an interesting prospect for NFL teams.
With a bevy of experience in pass protection, pass catching, as well as special teams and traditional running of the football, Groshek is the prototype overachiever who usually continues to overachieve initially at the next level before the talent chasm between he and those more highly sought after catches up.
A group lacking the star power of years prior, this group should produce a few pros, and be remembered as a lot of good college players. If the program continues to track in the direction it has in recruiting, there shouldn’t be many years like this in the near future (i.e. next year with Jake Ferguson, Jack Sanborn, etc.)
I’d be shocked if more than three of these guys get drafted (Wildgoose, Van Lanen, Burrell), but stranger things have happened.