Following a season that looked unlike any other due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 10 Wisconsin football players participated in workouts for the National Football League as part of the University of Wisconsin’s NFL Pro Day.
the 2020 season started with a bang in a 45-7 win over Illinois and a 49-11 route of long-time Big Ten rival Michigan. After a 2-0 start, the Badgers lost three consecutive games to Northwestern, Indiana and Iowa before finishing the regular season with a win over Minnesota. The 3-3 regular-season record led the team to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Badgers defeated Wake Forest 42-28.
Despite games being canceled and postponed, as well as multiple weeks off due to COVID-19 issues within other universities’ athletic programs, the Badgers managed to finish their season with a 4-3 record, leaving fans hopeful for what’s to come in 2021.
Like Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor, many seniors announced that they would be returning to the Wisconsin football program for another season. On the other hand, many will be moving on from football, but a select few were invited to the Wisconsin Pro Day to workout in front of NFL scouts.
The players invited were Adam Bay, Eric Burrell, Jon Dietzen, Garrett Groshek, Adam Krumholz, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Mason Stokke, A.J. Taylor, Cole Van Lanen and Rachad Wildgoose.
These players participated in a number of drills to measure a variety of their abilities. There were two drills to judge a player’s speed — the 10-yard split, designed to see how quickly a player reaches their top speed, and the 40-yard dash, testing the athlete’s pure speed. In both of these drills, the top performer was Wildgoose, who clocked in a 1.49 on the 10-yard split and a 4.41 40-yard dash.
Other drills are designed to test a player’s abilities to change directions. The 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone were dominated by Krumholz, who recorded a 4.08 20-yard shuttle and a 6.90 three-cone. These times were not far off from Garret Groshek, who recorded a 4.22 shuttle and a 6.96 three-cone.
Players also participated in a broad jump and vertical jump, both testing linear explosion. Burrell put up some impressive numbers with a 124” broad and a 35.5” vertical. Krumholz also recorded a 35.5” vertical, and the highest of the workout was 36.0” from Wildgoose.
Finally, the players tested their upper body strength and weight lifting technique with a bench press. Stokke and Van Lanen both recorded 22 reps at 225 pounds.
While a lot of Badgers impressed, the best workout of the day came from Wildgoose. As previously stated, Wildgoose recorded the top times in the 10-yard split and the 40-yard dash. His 36-inch vertical and 7-second three-cone are also impressive.
The only alarming stat from his workout was eight reps on the bench press, but it’s important to note that Wildgoose injured his shoulder against Northwestern, ending his season and cutting his career as a Badger short.
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With the NFL draft coming up at the end of April in Cleveland, these players hope to continue their play at the professional level.
The top-ranked NFL Draft prospect for the Badgers is Van Lanen. Van Lanen is a left tackle who played in 45 games for Wisconsin, including 19 starts throughout his career.
He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2020, an improvement from his second-team pick in 2019. He is also listed at 200th in Pro Football Focus’s top 300 2021 NFL Draft prospects. On top of this, Van Lanen has been ranked as high as ninth in overall offensive grade among 2021 offensive tackles.
Moving to defensive prospects, Wildgoose, a cornerback for the Badgers who played in 25 games with five starts over his career, is ranked in the top 100 prospects, according to PFF. During his three seasons with the Badgers, he was responsible for 57 tackles, 15 pass breakups and one interception.
Sticking with the defensive side of the ball, Eric Burrell, a safety for the Badgers, played in 48 games throughout his career at Wisconsin with 26 starts. Burrell played in 23 more games than Wildgoose, recording 126 tackles, 16 pass breakups, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
These three players have the highest chance of any Badger to get drafted this season. Since Paul Chryst took over as the Wisconsin head football coach in December of 2017, there have been at least two players drafted to the NFL each season.
We hope to see these players’ names called in Cleveland at the NFL Draft, which is set to be held in person with fans beginning on April 29 and continuing through May 1.