Every year this is one of my favorite articles to write, simply for the sake of the exercise in futility that is predicting the NFL Draft.
Since Paul Chryst took over as head coach before the 2015 season, 18 players have been selected in the NFL Draft, with multiple others being prominent undrafted free agents, such as running backs Darè Ogunbowale and (Editor’s note: Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champion) Corey Clement.
This year’s group of talent is a bit thinner than most seasons, though you’d be remiss if you neglected to mention that this draft class should really include Jake Ferguson, Faion Hicks, Caesar Williams, Noah Burks, Collin Wilder, Jack Dunn and others who opted to return for 2021. Now, only one of those guys is likely a draft pick, but the fact remains this class looks pretty unimpressive without those six or more guys.
Now, without any further ado, let’s take a look at my for sure to be wrong predictions for this Badgers only mock draft:
With the 177th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select - Rachad Wildgoose, Cornerback, University of Wisconsin
With the Patriots being one of the few primarily man coverage defensive teams left in the NFL, they bring in Wildgoose, to chase (I apologize) around wide receivers. A bit of a misfit in Wisconsin’s defensive scheme, Wildgoose is a pure man to man corner who can also play in the slot due to his quickness and tackling ability. One of the few third-year early declarations Wisconsin has had, Wildgoose lands in Bill Belichick’s defense and plays a role more suited to his skillset.
With the 233rd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select - Cole Van Lanen, Offensive Tackle, University of Wisconsin
A potential guard in the NFL as well, Van Lanen provides the rebuilding Texans a versatile offensive lineman to develop into a starter in front of QB Deshaun Watson or whoever ends up playing under center in Houston next year.
Van Lanen was a two plus year starter at Wisconsin at left tackle, and in 2018 was the highest graded pass blocker in the country by Pro Football Focus. A linemen who doesn’t play as athletically as he tested, Van Lanen can provide depth at both guard and tackle for Houston while he develops into a potential starter.
Undrafted Free Agents
Eric Burrell - Indianapolis Colts - Colts GM Chris Ballard is a Wisconsin alum, and in the Colts two high defense, Burrell has a chance to make the roster as a depth safety and special teamer.
Garrett Groshek - Baltimore Ravens - Groshek’s ability to pass protect, catch the ball out of the backfield, and always be in the right spot will get him an opportunity with a team, and will also make him a lot harder to cut than he should be. He’ll be a third down back and have to live on special teams.
Isaiahh Loudermilk - Arizona Cardinals - Loudermilk has trimmed down a bit since his playing time at Wisconsin, he was 274 at his pro day. I suspect he ends up somewhere in the 280’s and in Arizona’s odd front defense, plays some inside and outside along their defensive line.
Mason Stokke - Tennessee Titans - Stokke developed nicely over his three years at the position after starting his career as an outside linebacker. Tennessee is one of the few teams who still uses a fullback, and Stokke is among one of the few in the class.
Adam Bay - Detroit Lions - Don Muhlbach is old and Bay is the best long snapper in this class. Lions get their replacement for their long time long snapper ready.