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2022 NFL Draft: Badgers Only Mock Draft

Where are some former Badgers headed at the end of this month?

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Another year has come and gone, and another crop of former Wisconsin Badgers are preparing on taking the next step into the NFL (or XFL or USFL, or going pro in something other than sports).

This group is particularly large, given the COVID additional year of eligibility, there are a good amount of sixth year seniors, including a couple for Wisconsin. There are currently 30 Badgers on NFL rosters as of the 2022 offseason, and this class will look to add to that total.

The Badgers have one opportunity for an early round selection, in linebacker Leo Chenal, and a couple chances either late on Day 2, or early Day 3 with tight end Jake Ferguson, linebacker Jack Sanborn and offensive lineman Logan Bruss. However, near the end of Day 3, or in undrafted free agency, there are a couple players who have excellent chances to at the very least fight for a practice squad spot or make a 53 man roster as well.

So let’s give this a shot in my very correct, very nice, very evil...2022 Badgers Only Mock Draft.

With the 54th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: Leo Chenal, linebacker, Wisconsin

Chenal is an athletic freak and a physical specimen, but he projects best in the NFL how he did in Madison, by being a disruptor at the line of scrimmage and being an enforcer in the run game.

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New England has had this player in their system in Dont’a Hightower for a long time, and he’s beginning to get a little long in the tooth.

Chenal would be a supplement to the athleticism and toughness the Patriots need in their linebacking corps.

With the 105th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select: Jake Ferguson, tight end, Wisconsin

The 49ers offensive scheme is one of the most tight end friendly in the league, and we’ve seen them succeed with the likes of Ross Dwelley (no offense to Ross Dwelley) and other less sought-after talents at the position. Ferguson is the right balance of pass catcher and blocker for the San Francisco scheme under head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Ferguson’s moxie as a player will make up for his modest athleticism, as he plays and wins smarter, not harder, to borrow that old adage.

With the 156th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select: Jack Coan, quarterback, Notre Dame

I know this is cheating a bit, but Coan was a Badger for four years! New Vikings quarterback coach Jerrod Johnson loved Coan down at the East-West Shrine Bowl, where Coan was the best quarterback in attendance.

Johnson greatly valued Coan’s ability to run the play call, as it was intended to be executed, going through his progressions, and getting everything in order before the snap.

NCAA Football: East/West Shrine Game Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coan will never wow people physically, but he’s a smart, ball protective quarterback who doesn’t make many mistakes, and is a better athlete than given credit for. He’s the prototypical backup.

With the 168th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select: Logan Bruss, guard, Wisconsin

Bruss becomes the third Badger off the board in this simulation, taking his physical brand of football to the northeast and snowy Buffalo. The Bills will love his ability to play guard as well as his flexibility to play tackle to get them out of a game if needed. The Bills are very pass heavy with Josh Allen at the helm, but that hasn’t made them stray from their physical brand of football. Bruss should fit right in in Western New York.

With 169th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select: Jack Sanborn, linebacker, Wisconsin

The Titans take advantage of their time at the East-West Shrine Bowl, and draft Sanborn, who was arguably the best linebacker in attendance. Sanborn is steady eddy, rock solid. He’s not going to wow you a ton, but he doesn’t make mistakes, and is always where he’s supposed to be, doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Sanborn will excel on special teams for the first year or so before pushing to get his way into the starting lineup in the Titans’ 3-4.

With the 216th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select: Matt Henningsen, defensive tackle, Wisconsin

While Henningsen played defensive end in Madison, notice he was listed as a defensive tackle by the Colts in their 4-3 defense.

Syndication: The Post-Crescent Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Henningsen is a big time athlete for an interior defensive lineman, and in the Colts’ hyper active scheme, they’ll be able to optimize his athleticism while having him stunt and twist and run around the line of scrimmage in front of Darius Leonard. While Henningsen isn’t a refined pass rusher, his power and chaos upfront will lead to some production.

With the 252nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select: Scott Nelson, safety, Wisconsin

This is more of the Bengals drafting someone to ensure they get them into camp rather than risking them sign elsewhere as a priority UDFA. Nelson posted an elite athletic profile at Wisconsin’s Pro Day, and while his tape doesn’t show that top athleticism, he’s put his ball skills and play-making ability on display during his time in Madison, flying around and playing with his hair on fire. Nelson will be a special teams ace as long as he’s able to stay healthy.

Undrafted Free Agents

CB Faion Hicks - Miami Dolphins
CB Caesar Williams - Houston Texans
FB John Chenal - Baltimore Ravens
OG Josh Seltzner - Cincinnati Bengals