The 2021 NFL Draft ended on Saturday afternoon and saw three Wisconsin Badgers players selected. Isaiahh Loudermilk went to the Steelers, Rachad Wildgoose went to the Bills and Cole Van Lanen went to the Packers. Here are some thoughts from our staff on how the draft shook out and, well, some other stuff too.
Do you think Cole Van Lanen is going to move back in with his parents?
Ryan: He might as well, at least for the time being, until he gets his first pro check. Hard to beat that short of a commute to work. And if mom and dad are covering the grocery bill for a 6-foot-4, 300 pound lineman, you can’t give that up...
Belz: He might as well for a few months. Nothing like a 10-minute commute to and from work. Overall, that is a perfect landing spot for him though. The Packers are in desperate need of lineman, and like the Badgers they cross-train them to play multiple positions. Van Lanen could help the Packers out inside or at tackle, and it’s awesome that he will be able to inside the state to do it.
Rock: He should but he won’t. Green Bay isn’t the insane housing market that I’m going through in Madison, but it’s close. Those NFL Gameday AirBnB setups are thirsty for business, and landlords are first against the wall when the NFL union finally asserts itself. If you’re able to grab six figures out of college and avoid the housing market for a few years while the supply chain rights itself, do so. Don’t wander into the “oh, I want independence like in college!” Trap. Emotionally manipulate your parents while the world settles down.
The Bills are kind of thin at CB. Do you think that Rachad Wildgoose can break into the starting lineup as a rookie?
Ryan: I think as a rookie he could eventually break into the starting lineup, but early in the season I could totally see him as a third corner brought in to cover a slot receiver. He’s got the tools and learned from a former Bills DB, so I think he will see his fair share of playing time.
Belz: I don’t know if I would pencil him in from the jump, but he definitely has a chance to play in the slot early assuming that the Bills don’t sign a veteran. Wildgoose is a great fit with the Bills, and I think that his ability to play any of the cornerback spots give him a fighting chance for immediate playing time if he impresses in camp.
Rock: Oh yeah, I know tons about AFC East participant Buffalo and their secondary makeup. I totally think that Wildgoose, whose name I know because I am as drunk now as I have been at most Badgers games over the past few years, can “break into the starting lineup” or whatever. Asking for comments on the Bills secondary situation? Fuck you.
With Pittsburgh playing a 3-4 defense too, how do you see Isaiahh Loudermilk’s rookie season going?
Ryan: I think his rookie season will be spent as a reserve defensive lineman and special teams contributor. The Steelers already have a talented line, so it would be hard for most to see playing time. If an injury were to occur, as they often do, he may be able to work his way into more playing time alongside T.J. Watt.
Belz: I was not expecting Loudermilk to be the first player selected from the Badgers, but his size and athletic ability do fit the Steelers scheme well. I don’t envision him grabbing meaningful snaps along the front seven right away given the talent that Pittsburgh has in front of him, but his size and length could allow him an opportunity to help out in special teams (specifically field goal blocking situations). I envision that he makes the roster, but is down on the depth chart in year one.
Rock: Early comments from the other family members helping put in my uncle’s pier is that Isaiahh Loudermilk has a great opportunity to sign milk cartons to interested parties. It’s a very obvious layup, and he’d need to get a Dean Milk marketing deal like Jonathan Taylor did with UW Credit Union, who is not the mortgage company I’m going with, but he’s got a great opportunity in that city he’ll play in, whatever it is.
How do you think your favorite NFL team did in the draft?
Ryan: Overall, I thought Green Bay had a good draft. I personally would have liked for them to grab WR Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota, but once he went off the board the smart decision was to draft Eric Stokes, especially given King’s issues in the NFC Championship game. Stokes has a lot of talent and could make a formidable duo with Jaire Alexander, and I love that he hates Tom Brady. Josh Myers filled a need with Corey Linsley’s departure and Amari Rodgers should be a great addition at slot receiver. I’m always a fan of Wisconsin guys going to Green Bay, so Van Lanen and Jon Dietzen signing as an UDFA is awesome and it fills a need on the offensive line, along with Royce Newman. I think RB Kylin Hill was also a great pick up in the 7th round.
Belz: I like what the Packers did. Overall they landed a plus athlete at corner, a talented lineman that could potentially replace Linsley, and then a slot receiver with a very different skill set than anyone else on the roster. I loved that they made it a priority to add corners and offensive lineman, because their two-deep was desperately in need of help at those two spots. I like the late round flyer on Kylin Hill as well. Overall, I think the Packers did a good job of hitting some key needs. Now it is all about hoping it pays off.
Rock: Waaaaay too early to tell. In the very limited gossip I allow myself to know, I have not heard anything about Sydney Hilley’s reaction to Jack Coan transferring to the Fighting Irish. He easily could start and grab a draft spot in 2022, but Hilley’s season just ended, and nobody’s said anything about using the 2020 exception to stay around or transfer. Don’t transfer. Raise some banners Sydney. You’ll never get shouted out in a tunnel of the Rose Bowl if you ply your trade in Indiana.
What was the biggest steal of the draft?
Ryan: Justin Fields to Chicago. I hated him in college because he always beat up on Wisconsin, now I will hate him in the NFL with Chicago. My hatred of him shows that it was a great pick.
Belz: If we are looking at the first round, I think it has to be the Chicago Bears getting Justin Fields, as much as it pains me to say this. Fields is the second best quarterback in the class in my eyes, and they got some solid value with him falling beyond the top-10. They gave up a lot to make it happen, but Fields is really good. I also think that the Jets got a steal in the second round with Elijah Moore. He is a dynamic athlete that could see immediate playing time in that wide receiver room.
Excited to be a part of this wonderful organization. Can’t wait to get to work. https://t.co/MY5nKq7Clc— Justin Fields (@justnfields) April 30, 2021
Rock: We got a half barrel of Warped Speed Scotch Ale for Friday, and it was surreal after 14 months of COVID to show up to the lake house pier weekend at 6 PM and realize your one roadie is still putting you 15 beers behind literally everyone else in the family. These are family and friends that should know better. They’re retired or they take care of small children. Meanwhile, I felt guilty saluting someone taking a walk on the side of the main highway with a tall boy APA while they’re throwing bags eight feet off the board when the score’s 4-2. Warped Speed is the steal of the draught in my book.