While their careers on the field for Wisconsin may be over, Badger seniors Corey Clement and Vince Biegel have one final chance to impress NFL scouts at the college level in the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl Saturday.
What is the Senior Bowl?
Hosted at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, for the 66th consecutive year, the Senior Bowl is an all-star showcase game between a North and South Team comprised of seniors who have completed their collegiate eligibility. Fourth-year juniors who have already earned their college degrees are also eligible.
A current NFL head coach leads each team, with the Cleveland Browns’ Hue Jackson at the helm for the North Team and Chicago Bears’ John Fox for the South Team this year.
Badgers in action
Running back Corey Clement and inside linebacker Vince Biegel will each get a shot to impress NFL scouts this weekend in hopes of becoming the next two names on a list of more than 500 previous Senior Bowl participants to make a NFL roster.
Clement rushed for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns during the Badgers’ 2016-17 campaign, which landed him as a current third-round draft pick per CBS Sports‘ 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
On the other side of the ball, outside linebacker Vince Biegel has an opportunity to raise some eyebrows in hopes of increasing his draft stock as well.
Biegel, who finished the season with the Badgers’ second-most sacks and 44 tackles, is currently projected to be taken in the late fourth or early fifth round.
Senior Bowl significance
A breakout performance against some of the best veteran talent in college football this weekend will not go unnoticed. According to Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage, nearly every season at least 30 percent of the NFL consists of players who participated in the Senior Bowl.
The MVP of last year’s Senior Bowl was awarded to ex-Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, who many believe to be second in the race for the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The 2016 fourth-round draft pick went on to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 regular season record and the No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC.
The 2016 NFL Pro Bowl featured 22 Senior Bowl alumni, and the all-star game’s own Hall of Fame boasts 38 Pro Football Hall of Famers. Some of the current NFL alumni includes names like Von Miller, Clay Matthews and Richard Sherman.
Wisconsin and the Senior Bowl
Wisconsin has a rich history with the Senior Bowl, especially in recent years. Fifty-two Badgers in total have appeared on a roster since the all-star game’s inception in 1950, and nine of the last 11 went on to be selected in the NFL Draft.
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Russell Wilson, James White and Lance Kendricks are only a few recent names from Wisconsin who have gone on to successful NFL careers following their showcases in the Senior Bowl.
Around the Big Ten
With 17 players from the Big Ten, some familiar faces from around the conference include Iowa defensive back Desmond King and quarterback C.J. Beathard. Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis and inside linebacker Ben Gedeon – who led the Wolverines in total tackles and tackles for loss – are also playing for the North Team.
For many prospects projected in the draft’s later rounds, their Senior Bowl performance could be the difference in hearing their name called come April 27.
North vs. South 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
When: 1:30 p.m. CT Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017
TV: NFL Network (Channel 669 on Residence Hall Cable)