Jan. 21, 2017
Wisconsin Draft Prospects
Wisconsin NFL Draft prospects
Ryan Ramczyk, OT
The big offensive tackle had a long road to get to this point. In just two seasons, Ramczyk went from Division III UW-Stevens Point to an AP All-American at Wisconsin. He was the best offensive lineman on a Wisconsin team that helped Corey Clement rush for more than 1,300 yards. I doubt his stock would get much higher if he would have come back for his senior season with the Badgers. Even though he will not be able to test at the NFL combine in March due to hip surgery, he will still likely be a first round pick. He was outstanding as a pass blocker and is a powerful run blocker. In a weak offensive line draft, Ramczyk ranks No. 2 at this point at his position and has the potential to go in the top 15. Even if the surgery knocks him down a bit, he should still go in the first round.
Prediction: Round 1
T.J. Watt, OLB
The second Badger expected to be drafted is J.J. Watt’s little brother. After having two injury-plagued seasons to start his collegiate career, Watt broke out in a big way in 2016. He led the Big Ten with 11.5 sacks and led the team with 15.5 tackles for loss. He is the perfect fit at outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense. He and Vince Biegel formed the best outside linebacker duo in the country. Watt will be drafted in the top two rounds without question and possibly make it into the bottom of the first.
Projection: Round 1-2
Vince Biegel, OLB
I mentioned Biegel above, as he was a great tandem with Watt at outside linebacker. Biegel had a solid senior season after having terrific sophomore and junior seasons. In those two seasons, Biegel had a combined 15.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss, but he took a back seat to Watt this season. He had just four sacks and six tackles for loss this season. He is not as good of a prospect of Watt, but he has the ability to be a solid contributor. He sometimes misses sacks by over-running the quarterback and has to try to loop around to try to get him. If he would have declared last year, he likely would have been a Day 2 draft pick, but did not have a great senior season. He does not have great athleticism, but makes up for it in other areas.
Prediction: Round 4
Corey Clement, RB
Clement is a solid running back, but not as good as people thought he would be. Many thought he would be the ‘next great Wisconsin back.’ Having to be the running back to follow Melvin Gordon is not easy to do. As a junior, Clement missed most of the season with an injury, but came back with a strong senior season. His pass catching ability is still a bit unproven, but his vision is great. I have a feeling he will just be lumped in with a number of other running backs and will depend on which team prefers which back. I have a hard time seeing Clement as a feature back in the NFL, but I could see him as a backup for awhile in the league.
Prediction: Round 5
Sojourn Shelton, CB
Going into Wisconsin, Shelton was compared to former Badgers great Jamar Fletcher. In his freshman season, Shelton had four interceptions and the comparison to Fletcher seemed accurate. However, Shelton had just one interception combined in the next two years with that lone pick coming in the closing minutes of the Holiday Bowl his junior season and the Fletcher comparison disappeared. But his senior season was fantastic. Shelton had four interceptions his final season, including two huge picks in a win over the rival Minnesota Gophers. However, just like with Fletcher, Shelton does not have the typical size for a cornerback and that will hurt him. If he is not drafted, he will get a training camp invite.
Prediction: Round 7
Bart Houston, QB
Houston had a weird career with the Badgers. He came in as one of the best quarterback recruits in Wisconsin history, but was the backup to Joel Stave for three years and he was heading into 2016 as the starter. But after he struggled in the first half in the third game against Georgia State, he was benched in favor of freshman Alex Hornibrook. Then, against Iowa, coach Paul Chryst decided to go with a two quarterback system. Amazingly, both quarterbacks performed better under the system. He is a big guy and has the arm strength, but lacks consistency in accuracy. He will get a camp invite, but I doubt he gets drafted.
Dare Ogunbowale, RB
Ogunbowale is a typical third down back. With the injury to Clement his junior season, Ogunbowale had to be the lead running back and rushed for more than 800 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. When Clement came back this season, Ogunbowale went back to his normal role and thrived. He was the big reason the Badgers knocked off Nebraska in overtime this season, rushing for 120 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the overtime period. However, he is at his best when catching the ball. To be honest, I did not think Chryst utilized Ogunbowale the way he should have. The back is a monster catching passes out of the backfield and if he makes it to the league, this will be the trait that carries him there as he has had 60 catches the past two seasons.
Leo Musso, SS
Musso seemingly came out of nowhere to play extremely well in the back end of the Wisconsin secondary. He was a third team All-Big Ten selection. He is a solid safety who led the team in interceptions, but I doubt he gets much more than a training camp invite.
Rob Wheelwright, WR
Wheelwright had a solid, but unspectacular career with the Badgers. He is a possession receiver who will not be able to stretch the field. His career-long reception of 47 yards was on a wide receiver screen. He also has a tendency to drop some easy passes and he is not the best blocker in the world. If he can clean up the drops, he has a chance. He may get a training camp invite, but I doubt he makes it into the league.