The Cleveland Browns opened the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield first overall. Over the course of the first three rounds — spread over Thursday and Friday evenings — not a single University of Wisconsin Badger was drafted.
Last year Wisconsin laid claim to two first round selections in LB T.J. Watt and OL Ryan Ramczyk.
On Saturday, the mini-drought would be broken.
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 10 (No. 110 overall) to the Oakland Raiders
Nelson transferred to Madison in 2016 from Hawaii and was forced to redshirt for the 2016 season to comply with NCAA transfer rules. Upon his reinstatement to the active roster this past season, Nelson instantly made his worth known as one of the top lockdown corners in the game.
Nelson started every game for UW football at cornerback and was named as a second-team All-American. Nelson was also a consensus nomination to first-team All-Big Ten and was Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week in late November.
Nelson set a single-season school record for pass-breakups with 21, a category in which he also led the nation.
He will join a Raiders secondary in need of reinforcements, they ranked 26th in pass defense last season, so it looks as though Nelson will have an opportunity to step up and play a role for the depleted Raiders defense.
Position: Tight End
Drafted: Round 5, Pick 19 (No. 156 overall) to the Denver Broncos
Fumagalli, a former walk-on, quickly became a fan favorite during the last few seasons as he became a primary target over the middle. He would finish his career seventh all-time on the Wisconsin leaderboards with 135 receptions.
This past season, Fumagalli was named as a second-team All American, was awarded Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year and selected as first-team All-Big Ten in the coaches poll.
Many don’t think he has the athleticism to be a primary target in the NFL, though he has elite hands and is a more than capable blocker.
Fumagalli joins a mediocre Denver offensive roster already flush with former Big Ten tight ends, including Wisconsin’s Austin Traylor, Illinois’ Matt LaCosse, Ohio State’s Jeff Heuerman and Michigan’s Jake Butt.
Drafted: Round 5, Pick 27 (No. 164 overall) to the New Orleans Saints
Jamerson began his career as a wide reciever, converting to cornerback in 2016 before finally settling in as a safety for his senior year.
In 2017, Jamerson recorded 51 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and two picks — both in an early-season matchup against Northwestern.
The Saints already have several high draft picks from the past few years at the safety position. In 2016, they drafted Vonn Bell in the second round, and followed up next year with another second-round selection in Marcus Williams.
They have yet to determine a solid hierarchy, so New Orleans seems like a good place for Jamerson to compete for playing time.
Drafted: Round 6, Pick 28 (No. 202 overall) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cichy sat out his senior season in 2017 thanks to a preseason knee injury, though remained a leader on the notorious Badger defense. He was rarely seen without a headset on the sideline — no doubt instilling his wisdom on the rest of the UW linebacking corp.
Cichy’s signature moment as a Badger came back in 2015 when he logged three sacks on three straight plays in the Holiday Bowl. Another former walk-on, Cichy quickly became another fan favorite, thanks to his proclivity for seemingly being involved in every defensive stop.
The Bucs had one of the worst defenses in the league last season and drafted heavy on the defensive side of the ball this year. In Cichy, the Buccaneers will be getting a low-risk prospect who fell to the sixth round because of his injury history, but it’s widely accepted he has tremendous upside.
Drafted: Round 7, Pick 12 (No. 230 overall) to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Over Jacobs’ career at UW, he amassed 59 games played — the most in FBS history.
He moved around over the years, first at outside linebacker, then to inside linebacker, followed by a stint at fullback before ultimately returning to the OLB position.
In his 2017 campaign, he accumulated 60 tackles — 35 of them solo efforts.
He joins a Jacksonville team fresh off an AFC Championship Game appearance, loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball. Playing time may be hard to come by on such a stacked team.