As draft day looms closer, you can practically feel the nerves of prospects building. None of them know when their names will be called and where they will spend the next part of their football careers playing. Although it seems somewhat clear where players such as Myles Garret (projected to be picked no later than the second pick overall) will end up, for the rest of the players entering the draft, it isn’t that easy. So where are our former Badgers projected to get picked?
Ryan Ramczyk is rated as the number two offensive tackle in the draft and experts such as Lance Zierlein of NFL.com expect him to go early. Zierlein projects Ramcyzk to be chosen with the 15th pick by the Indianapolis Colts. But some experts don’t even have Ramcyzk getting picked in the first round, such as Bleacher Report. They have him just escaping the first round and being picked 36th overall by the Chicago Bears. This could be due to only having starting one year with the Badgers and injury history (Ramczyk underwent hip surgery this offseason). Other websites have him going at the very latest 40th, to the Carolina Panthers. But the most popular landing spot for Ramcyzk seems to be to either the Denver Broncos at pick number 20 or to the New York Giants at pick 23. Both teams could use an offensive tackle, as both of their running games struggled last season.
T.J. Watt is an interesting prospect to look at. After his combine and pro day performance, his draft stock soared. But one question remains: will Watt be drafted as a defensive end or a linebacker? Paul Chryst said on a Big Ten Coaches conference call that he has gotten calls from teams asking about both positions for Watt. Some mock drafts have him going as early as pick 21 to the Detroit Lions. But Sports Illustrated has Watt falling way down to pick number 78 to the Baltimore Ravens. NFL.com has Watt being picked in the second round. Although a few mock drafts have him going to the hometown Green Bay Packers, they have much bigger needs in their secondary to fill. It’s easy to see Watt ending up a Pittsburgh Steeler with pick #30. They lost Lawerence Timmons and James Harrison, an aging veteran, would be a perfect player for Watt to learn under.
Vince Biegel: When predicting where Badgers will go gets more complicated. Many mock drafts only go to the second round, but many included the next four players as well. Biegel is projected to go as early as the 96th pick to the New England Patriots by Sports Illustrated. But he could also still be around as late as the 206th pick, as predicted by DraftSite, and play for the Los Angeles Rams. One thing that could help get Vince drafted is his natural leadership abilities, which surely are noticed by NFL teams. But the things that seems to be hurting him is that he is undersized and his foot injury. Biegel seems like a good fit the New England Patriots, but don’t expect them to use the 96th pick on him – instead, they’ll grab Biegel with pick #131. With the mid-season trade of Jamie Collins, the Patriots are in need of a linebacker, and they tend to like underrated players (see Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, and Malcolm Butler for example). Biegel could be just the guy they are looking for.
Sojourn Shelton definitely boosted his draft stock with his combine and pro day performance. Shelton was originally thought to go undrafted, but is now expected to be drafted anywhere between picks #158 to the Indianapolis Colts and pick #242 to the Oakland Raiders. One mock had Shelton going to the Green Bay Packers at #172, but as stated earlier, the Packers have secondary problems they will address them much earlier in the draft. Another mock draft had Sojourn Shelton being drafted at #195 to the Buffalo Bills – this is more likely to fit the bill. Buffalo lost Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots in free agency and could use some young talent to help fill that gap. Until he is fully developed as a cornerback in his new system, Shelton could also be a special teams guy.
Corey Clement was mentioned in only a few mock drafts, but in the ones he was in experts have him being picked in the late 100’s. The Indianapolis Colts could be a team to watch for, they are in need of a running back to work behind the aging Frank Gore. The Green Bay Packers could be another team to watch. The Packers have picks 172 and 182, which could be a good spot to fill with a young running back. Green Bay’s backfield struggled last year, and Clement could be the one to revive it.
No mock drafts had Bart Houston, Dare Ogunbowale, Rob Wheelwright, or Leo Musso listed, but they could easily go as undrafted free agents to the team of their choice. Rob Wheelwright will be one to watch out for as he had an exceptional pro day, and was talked to by scouts from Green Bay, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.
The draft is set to take place one week from now in Philadelphia. By the end of next weekend, we will know the fate of our eight former Badgers. Happy Draft Week!