As do many other fans of the Green Bay Packers, I follow Wisconsin's football team as much as I do Green Bay, and every year I'm hoping one or two Badgers at least get brought into training camp. It's pretty cool to see...a young college guy playing for your favorite college team, and graduating and ending up playing for your favorite NFL team.
This post is just going to take a look at Wisconsin's NFL Draft Prospects, and which of them could be fits with the Packers.
Peter Konz, C
6'5" 314 lbs.
Konz was looking like the most likely pick at #28 not too long ago, but the signing of Jeff Saturday has made that fairly unlikely. Ted promises to stick by the strategy that built a Super Bowl winning team, and that is balancing BPA with need. And if he stick by that, then Konz continues to look unlikely. Not only is Center not as immediate of a need as OLB, DT, or S, but Konz likely won't be the BPA at #28.
A Quick scouting report on Konz, thanks to NFLsoup.
Great pad level for his massive frame. Never stops driving his legs- terrific footwork. Konz is incredibly quick off the ball even when he pulls, he’s incredible quick and agile for his size. Always moving up field toward next level- if no one is at the second level, he doesn’t turn back and block grass, he is always moving up field and always plays whistle to whistle. Heady player who can make all of the reads and calls at the line. Dominant run-blocker who drops his hips well and sticks to blockers seemingly without fail.
You know a prospect is quality when you’re struggling to find many weaknesses in his game. One concern could be his ankle, a hampering injury that his caused him to miss time in each of the last three seasons. Some have claimed that his success was merely a result of the incredible talent levels around him at Wisconsin, but in the end, he always did his job and was exceptional on film individually.
He pretty much is the ideal C/G prospect, it just depends how much you value one, and I guess he just isn't the absolute monster you must be to get Top 15 consideration.
It's still not impossible to see him in Green And Gold. If Thompson trades down with somebody and drops into the late 30s, and Konz is still available then I think he'd be a good pick. He's also a fairly experienced Guard so he could be a great backup and even push Lang a little bit for the starting job (just push, not take it from him).
Kevin Zeitler G
6'4" 315 lbs.
Zeitler is similar to Konz, a prospect who can play both Guard and Center. Zeitler is widely considered a lesser prospect than Konz (but by very little) and will likely still be on the board when Konz is selected. This makes Zeitler ending up in Green Bay very unlikely...for the same reasons as Konz, except that if the Packers DO decide to take a C/G prospect from Wisconsin, it'd likely be Konz over Zeitler.
Also, Zeitler gets a mid-2nd round grade from most people, and the Packers only pick late-1st and late-2nd, so he's not really in their range.
Some quick notes courtesy of MockingTheDraft, which I'd like to add he gets a few more False-Start penalties than I'd like (and more than the other Wisconsin lineman it seemed):
- Zeitler has good size and weight distribution w/ a solid base
- He plays with low pad level helping him in both the running and passing game
- His snap awareness is inconsistent as Zeitler isn't always the first off the ball
- However, he does have a quick first step which helps overcome the lack of awareness
- Zeitler does a great job of getting his hands up and inside the defender quickly
- His heavy hands make it very difficult for defenders to disengage
- Once he is engaged, Zeitler does an excellent job of driving his feet and the defender off the ball
- He works extremely hard to get inside hand position
- Zeitler has good quickness and is effective in space
- In the passing game, Zeitler has a natural bend is able to anchor after the initial contact
- He possesses quick feet which allows him to mirror the rusher
- At times, Zeitler's arms get to extended impacting his balance
Once again, not impossible...but fairly unlikely.
Nick Toon WR
6'2" 214 lbs.
First of all, what a great name. Secondly, a great Wisconsin Wide Receiver. Toon is a good player with good size and attributes, but is lacking in the elite areas and isn't really "great" at anything, rather pretty good at everything. That, coupled with a decent combine showing and a re-occuring foot problems as a minor issue, Toon is considered a 3rd round prospect by most, but can be found in the 2nd round of some mock drafts.
Sadly, though, he's just not really a fit in Green Bay. A team with 4 legit receivers with youth, along with Driver and 2 guys on the practice squad, I don't see Thompson taking a receiver unless Justin Blackmon falls to #28. Toon's only chance of playing for the Packers is falling into the late 4th round (extremely unlikely) where he Packers have 3 picks, and might use one to snatch Toon.
FFtoolbox has a report on him, which I'll reflect on:
Toon has the size, strength, and ball skills to be a solid possession receiver upon entering the NFL. He won't blow past many receivers on out routes, but he can use his size to his advantage in order to make plays down the field.
Toon ran a good, but not great 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine. The problem is that his game film will be tough for teams to glean a lot of information from. Wisconsin spends so much time focusing on their running game that it is tricky to watch him break press coverage and run routes throughout a game.
The Badgers have produced a few solid pass-catchers in the NFL -- including Lee Evans, Travis Beckum, Owen Daniels, Lance Kendricks and Jim Leonhard -- so the lineage is there for those who were successful at Wisconsin to become NFL pros. Toon needs to work on his ability to seal the edge as a run-blocker. He sometimes drop what should be sure catches, but has really improved upon this over his last two seasons. When route-running, he'll need to clean up his footwork and make sharper cuts.
I pretty much agree with that report, but I would actually say that he's a very good run blocker (they imply that he's OK/good), and I would include something about his re-occuring foot injuries that caused him to miss a game last season and 2 or 3 the season before (and apparently was bothering him before the combine). And how is Jim Leonhard a pass catcher?
Highly unlikely, and actually very close to impossible. The only hope is if he's available in the 3rd round, and Thompson decides to draft Toon and then trade James Jones for a defensive player.
Russell Wilson QB
5'11" 205 lbs.
Wilson is probably the most likely Badger to end up on the Packers. He has a good chance of being available in the tail end of the 4th round, where like I said the Packers have 3 selections. Backup QB is a bit hazy right now, as Harrell hasn't really proven he can do it, and there's no real 3rd stringer. Wilson could probably beat out Harrell as the backup as a rookie, and still has some upside.
Wilson would be a great selection in the 4th round in my opinion.
Coming back to NFL soup for this report:
Very underrated prospect due to size and age. Has very good arm strength and has the ability to make every NFL throw. Excels on the rollout and is among this year’s best at throwing on the run. Has good versatility, as he’s ran plays as a wide receiver. Tremendous leader and competitor. Accuracy has never been a problem. Doesn’t make stupid mistakes or turn the ball over often. Handles pressure extremely well and knows when to stay in/leave the pocket. Experience in a pro-style offense is a big plus. Very intelligent and has all of the "can’t teach" intangibles.
Extremely under-sized. Lack of size can contribute to poorly thrown balls and turnovers. Will be 24, so older than the average rookie quarterback. Elite college o-line and ground game could possibly have hidden some of his short-comings.
People can say all they want about Wilson, but the fact is that his height is keeping people from realizing that he’s actually one heck of a quarterback. His athleticism makes him a threat to run on any play, and also helps keep plays alive. The comparisons to Drew Brees aren’t fair to either player, but the point is that there can be success at the highest level when you’re a short quarterback. Michael Vick is another example. Wilson is going to be a mid-round pick because of his height, but if he gets a chance to compete and sees the field, I think he’ll shock a lot of people.
He appears on Gruden's QB camp not too long ago, and Gruden had this to say:
"I think that is the issue with Russell Wilson," Gruden said. "That might be the reason that he's not picked in the first couple rounds. The only issue with Russell Wilson is his height. He's got tremendous mobility. I've got him at 4.50 in the 40. He's mastered two different offensive systems. When do any of us remember a kid transferring from N.C. State to Wisconsin in July and breaking every Wisconsin Badger record? The Badgers could have won every game this year if not for a couple Hail Marys.
"This is a tremendous kid," Gruden said. "His intangibles are off the charts. He walks into Wisconsin, he's a team captain. We all know what a great athlete he is. He's a high draft choice in baseball.
At the end of the show, Gruden said to the viewers: "I think Russell Wilson will be one of the steals of this draft. He is going to be overlooked by some because of his height. But I do think at the end of day, when you check back on this draft 10 years later, he is going to have had a very good career."
So clearly NFL Gruden likes him, and NFL soup is very realistic with their scouting report and seems to like him as well. The truth is, there's not much to dislike about Wilson...there really is only one thing you can dislike. And that is the fact that he really is 5'11". Other than that, he doesn't have any flaws, although you can watch a few plays and question his pocket presence just a little bit.
But I feel like if there's one or two offenses where he can really thrive, it's an an offense like the Packers'. In the shotgun a lot, spread the field, quick throws so he doesn't get caught up in the pocket, fair amount of rollouts.
Aaron Henry S
With the return of Nick Collins is looking fairly unlikely at this point. That leaves an issue at safety, where a starter is needed to play alongside Morgan Burnett. Henry couldn't be expected to be a solid starter as a rookie, but he could surprise some people by playing some good ball in Collins' place. And if he proves to not be good enough to start (probably will happen) then he's good depth for now and a starter for the future.
Quick report on Henry, from Dan Kadar at MockingTheDraft:
Strengths: Is a nice athlete for the position and move around fluidly and without a wasted motion. Has good range and is good at covering man up. Fluid hips. Converted from cornerback in 2010. Is disciplined when dropping back and doesn't open his hips too soon. Vocal team leader. Will be best on that has a run stuffing safety so he can play center field.
Weaknesses: Not especially physical and looks more like a bigger cornerback. Will have to become more physical to be more than a backup safety or nickel player. Needs to be more patient as routes develop. Struggles to get off blocks when playing near the line of scrimmage. Torn ACL in 2008 bowl game practice and missed the next season.
Agree with most of that, and one thing to note is he has great hands, should get plenty of INTs in the NFL. He should be avaiable in the late 4th round where the Packers have 3 picks, and if he's there has a good chance of being taken by the Packers.
Louis Nzegwu DE
6'3" 254 lbs.
He's actually a little bit on the radar. Or at least not totally off of it. He was good in college, proving to be a good tackler and a decent pass rusher. But as a Badgers fan, it never really felt like he was impacting the game enough, and that coupled with his average size and athleticism (or so we thought) leaves him as a Day 3-undrafted prospect.
But let me tell you that the only reason he's a potential 6th or 7th round pick is because of his stellar Pro Day. Madison.com has it:
Nzegwu, who transitioned to defensive end in college after playing running back in high school at Platteville, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds despite weighing over 250 pounds, had a 41½-inch vertical and a broad jump of almost 11 feet.
He's not going to go in the 1st round now, but the fact that he put up great numbers despite being in the mid-250s-lbs, and he was a starter and solid contributor on the Big Ten Championship team means he'll get some looks. With 12 picks, I'd actually like to see Thompson grab Nzegwu in the 7th round. He should be able to play 3-4 OLB and has the potential to at the least create solid training camp competition, and at the most grab a roster spot as a backup/special teamer, and he's a local dude (did you hear about the Victor Cruz story?).
Antonio Fenelus CB
Fenelus was a extremely solid corner for the Badgers, but his combination of lack of size (5'8") and average speed (high 4.5s, low 4.6s) doesn't bode well for him. He does have some potential as a nickel corner who can cover a slot receiver, but he likely could never match up with a recever on the outside. By the way, this dude went to my high school in Boca Raton, have his autograph and stuff, so I'm REALLY hoping he finds a way onto the Packers. He should be a 7th round pick or else a UDFA.
Bradie Ewing FB
6' 240 lbs.
Ewing has a fair chance of being a Packer, considering Thompson's consistent crush on versatile Fullback/H-back/TE tweeners. Ewing has good size and bulk, as well as awesome hands out of the backfield. Consider that he lined up out wide for a handful of snaps, and actually ran routes as well. Mel Kiper thinks he's the best FB in the draft, which should put him around the 5th or 6th round.
Josh Oglesby OT
6'7" 320 lbs
I remember him coming in as a Top 30 prospect in the country. A lot of hype. Knee injuries kept him from fully living up to the hype. He has numerous knee surgeries at Wisconsin, and was forced to miss a lot of practice time and game time because of it. The good thing is that the knees didn't bother him as much this season, and that when he's healthy he's pretty good. He's a 6th/7th/UDFA prospect at RT.
Patrick Butrym DT
Butrym was a solid contributor in his years at Wisconsin, but he clearly doesn't have the talent to be an impact in the NFL. He's currently the 671st prospect by CBSsports, so he may not even be in anyone's training camp.
Brad Nortman P
With Tim Masthay, the Packers really aren't in need of a Punter, but Nortman likely will get tried out by somebody, as he is one of the top punters in this year's class.
Phillip Welch, K
Once again, not really in the market for a Kicker either, but Welch is expected to get a shot at a kicking competition with a team looking for a kicker.
Thanks for reading, and I'm hoping Ted picks up one or two Badgers.