Sconnie Sports Talk

Wisconsin football: Full list of former Badgers in the NFL

Leah Kerkman, Sconnie Sports Talk


(Updated November 24, 2016)

The Wisconsin Badgers have had a player drafted in 38 straight NFL drafts.

Elite Level

Travis Frederick: Dallas Cowboys, OL

If you have heard how good the Dallas offensive line is, one of the main reasons they are so successful is because of Travis Fredrick. While the Cowboys certainly have other talented offensive lineman, Fredrick is one of the best centers in the NFL. In three seasons, he has been named to two pro bowls, and two All-Pro First Team’s. He has never missed a game in three seasons. While Fredrick’s career is still very young, he projects to be a phenomenal center for many more years.

Joe Thomas: Cleveland Browns, OL

Joe Thomas has been one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL since he entered the league. In 2007, he started on top as the #3 overall draft pick. From there, his career absolutely took off. He has never missed the Pro Bowl in his career. In fact, he is the only offensive lineman in NFL history to be selected to nine straight Pro Bowls to begin his career. In addition to this, Thomas has been made to the NFL All-Pro first or second team every season for the last eight years. To add to this already impressive list of accomplishments, he has never missed a game in his NFL career. Simply put, Joe Thomas is an absolute stud.

J.J. Watt: Houston Texans, DE

J.J. Watt currently sits at the top of the NFL as the best defensive (and perhaps overall) player. Watt is a monster, and his popularity off the field is growing every day. Here is just a short list of J.J.’s accomplishments:

Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks, QB

Even though he only played one season for the Badgers, Russell Wilson is an icon in Madison, and among NFL fans all around the country. In his first four seasons, Wilson has progressed from a game-manager, to an elite quarterback. In only four seasons, Wilson has managed to win a Super Bowl and go to another. He has made three Pro Bowls, has a career passer rating over 100, and has run for almost 2500 yards – all of this in spite of being a sub six-foot 3rd round draft pick. The sky is the limit for Russ, and it will be exciting to see how good he can be.

Kevin Zeitler: Cincinnati Bengals, OL

Kevin Zeitler is entering his 5th season in the NFL, and he has established himself as one of the best offensive guards in football. He is one of the best players on one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Zeitler is a prototypical Wisconsin offensive lineman: big, tough, athletic enough, and consistent. Zeitler has played in 56 games over the first four years of his career, and he projects to play many more for the Bengals. It would be surprising if he does not make a Pro Bowl in the next couple of seasons.

Melvin Gordon: San Diego Chargers, RB

Melvin Gordon’s career at UW-Madison was extremely memorable, to say the least. He is one of the best running backs in Wisconsin history, finished second in Heisman voting in his junior year, and was taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. With high expectations going into the season, MG3’s rookie year was filled with a lot of disappointment and zero touchdowns. 

Successful and Established

DeAndre Levy: Detroit Lions, LB

A third-round pick for Detroit in 2009, DeAndre Levy has been a very productive NFL player. While he has never made a Pro Bowl, he made the All-Pro Second Team in the 2014 season. Over the first six years of his career, Levy tallied 618 tackles and 12 interceptions. Entering the 2015 season, Levy signed a 4-year, 33 million dollar contract extension. Unfortunately, he was only able to play one half of a football game due to a hip injury that forced him on to the team’s injured reserve list. Levy is reportedly healthy after the first few weeks of training camp and is expected to start week one.

Robert Havenstein: Los Angeles Rams, OL

Havenstein surprised some after being drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Many experts pegged him to be a third or fourth round pick before the draft. However, the now Los Angeles Rams took a chance on him and it paid off. The Badger product started 13 games at right tackle in his rookie year and didn’t allow one sack the entire season. Needless to say, he is projected to be the opening day starter as he enters his second NFL season.


Lance Kendricks: Los Angeles Rams, TE

Lance Kendricks is another Rams player who is expected to have a productive season. Drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Rams TE has had limited opportunities to become the go to tight end. With Jared Cook now coming to Green Bay, the UW alumnus is expected to get a chance to start. He must be excited to work with #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff.

Brad Nortman: Jacksonville Jaguars, P

Nortman is entering his fifth season in the NFL, and his first with the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the first four years of his career, he was with the Carolina Panthers. He was a solid punter for them, averaging over 45 yards per punt and pinning the other team inside the twenty yard line over 30% of the time. Nortman is one of the few special teams players to ever come out of Wisconsin.

Ricky Wagner: Baltimore Ravens, OL

While a lot of Wisconsin fans may have forgotten Ricky Wagner, the former Badger has found a niche in Baltimore. A fifth round pick in 2013, Wagner impressed many with his play for the Ravens in his second season. He was even ranked as one of ProFootballTalk’s best tackles of 2014. However, his play last season was a significant downgrade compared to his sophomore campaign. Wagner will look to bounce back during his fourth year as an NFL player.

Roster Players

Beau Allen: Philadelphia Eagles, DT

Jonathan Casillas: New York Giants, OLB

Darius Hillary: Cincinnati Bengals, CB

Chris Maragos: Philadelphia Eagles, S

Scott Tolzien: Indianapolis Colts, QB

James White: New England Patriots, RB

Marcus Cromartie: San Francisco 49ers, CB/S

Ryan Groy: Buffalo Bills, OL

Kraig Urbik: Miami Dolphins, OL

The Rookies

Alex Erickson: Cincinnati Bengals, WR

Tanner McEvoy: Seattle Seahawks, WR

Joe Schobert: Cleveland Browns, LB

Derek Watt: San Diego Chargers, FB

Practice Squad

Tyler Marz: Tennessee Titans, OL

Joel Stave: Kansas City Chiefs, QB

Austin Traylor: New England Patriots, TE

Free Agents

Jared Abbrederis, WR

Owen Daniels, TE

Garrett Graham, TE

O’Brien Schofield, LB

Nick Toon, WR

Michael Caputo, S

Matt Shaughnessy, DE

Dezmen Southward, S

Nick Hayden, DE