We’re quickly approaching the NFL Draft, a time of optimism for all 32 fan bases as they all clamor to their teams to draft the good players and not draft the bad ones.
It’s all very simple, you see?
However, if you are able to look past all of the pyro and ballyhoo, you get to see NFL hopefuls live out their dreams and workout for NFL personnel in Indianapolis, and three former Badgers did so this past week.
Former Wisconsin Badgers Joe Tippmann, Keeanu Benton, and Nick Herbig all put themselves on display for both NFL teams and the media this week, in different capacities.
Keeanu Benton, the constant in the middle of the Badgers' stout defenses over the past three seasons, went through a full workout in Indianapolis.
#Badgers DL Keeanu Benton is a popular interview here in Indy. @BadgerFootball pic.twitter.com/JTWkHRM0Fi— Owen Riese (@RieseDraft) March 1, 2023
Benton was the only former Badger to go through the full workout in Indianapolis. The 6’4”, 309-pound nose guard showed off some impressive movement skills for scouts, and showed that while he was primarily a run stuffer in the cardinal and white, he may provide some pass rush upside at the next level.
Weight: 309 pounds
40-Yard Dash: 5.09 seconds
10 Yard Split: 1.79 seconds
Vertical Jump: 29.5” inches
Broad Jump: 9’3” inches
Three Coe: 7.34 seconds
Pro Agility: 4.65 seconds
Bench Press: 25 reps
This performance, along with the on-field drills, was a good showing for the Janesville native, who could see his name selected as early as the 2nd or 3rd round of April’s NFL Draft.
Nick Herbig was the other defensive player to workout in Indianapolis, but in a limited capacity. Herbig showed up at 240 pounds, well about his listed playing weight at UW of 228 pounds.
Due to his lack of ideal size as a pass rusher in the NFL, many teams and media pundits have wondered if Herbig’s fit in the NFL could be more along the lines of a traditional linebacker who is used as a pass rusher on obvious passing downs. Clearly, Herbig showing up 12 pounds above his listed weight is a sign that he’d rather remain in his role of an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive front.
Herbig only participated in the 40 Yard Dash and Bench Press. His results are as follows:
Weight: 240 pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds
10 Yard Split: 1.59 seconds
Bench Press Reps: 25 reps
Herbig opted to not participate in the jumps or the shuttles, something I assume he’ll complete at his Pro Day in Madison on the 23rd. Overall, Herbig showed well for what he did. The added weight (regardless of how legitimate it is), could quell some concerns from teams about his viability as a traditional outside linebacker, and even with the added weight, 4.65 is very respectable, and his 25 reps are as many as Benton, who has him outweighed by 69 pounds.
Joe Tippmann, the lone offensive player at the combine for Wisconsin, did not participate in Indianapolis. He weighed in at 314 pounds and measured in at 6’6”. While he didn’t participate in Indianapolis, he provided buzz in Indianapolis, drawing rave reviews from multiple scouts I spoke with. I’d expect Tippmann to be picked in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, as he’s one of the top centers in the class, and his athleticism lends himself to both zone and gap schemes, thus not limiting his potential NFL landing spots.
#Wisconsin OC Joe Tippmann talks about his comfortability as a puller at center and how his time as a scout team guard for the #Badgers aided that pic.twitter.com/7fHX70efQH— Owen Riese (@RieseDraft) March 4, 2023
Overall, it was a solid showing for the former Badgers at the combine, even if the number of them in Indianapolis was smaller than we’ve become accustomed to seeing in recent memory.
Wisconsin will hold its Pro Day for these three, as well as others pursuing a future in football on Thursday, March 23rd, where Bucky’s 5th Quarter will be covering the event live.