“Badgers? Badgers? We don’t need no stinking Badgers!”
Besides being one of my favorite lines from the 1989, Weird Al classic, UHF, it could also describe Ted Thompson’s attitude on draft day. Thompson has never drafted a Badger and the Packers haven’t drafted a Badger since offensive lineman Bill Ferrario in 2001.
I don’t think Thompson or the Packers intentionally avoid drafting Badgers, I just think the value of a Badger player has never lined up with the Packers’ draft board. But with the amount of Badger prospects that would seemingly fit the Packers scheme and needs, this year could be different.
Although Ted Thompson was not in attendance at the Badgers pro day, Packers’ Director of Pro Personnel, Eliot Wolf was there to represent the Packers.
Here’s a rundown of the top Badger prospects and where they could fit in with the Packers.
Chris Borland – Linebacker, 5’11” 245
The top Badger prospect, Borland doesn’t have the prototypical size and speed you look for in a NFL linebacker and he did not put up great numbers at the combine, but his instincts and toughness will likely make him a second day pick.
The Packers could certainly use help at middle linebacker, and unless they address the position in the first round with either Alabama’s CJ Mosley or Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, I would think that the Packers would consider Borland if he is still available in the 3rd round.
Jared Abbrederis – Wide Receiver, 6’1” 189
Although he doesn’t possess great straight line speed or strength, as a Badger Abbrederis always seemed to be able to find a way to get open. Abbrederis caught over 200 balls during his Badger career to go along with 23 touchdowns.
Abbrederis could be an attractive mid-round pick if James Jones leaves in free agency.
James White – Running Back, 5’9” 206
Despite sharing carries with the likes of Monte Ball and Melvin Gordon, White was very productive at Wisconsin, rushing for over 4,000 yards, and scoring 48 touchdowns.
White, who will likely be a mid-round pick, is probably the Badger who would be least likely to be drafted by the Packers, not because of his skill set, but due to the Packers having a deep stable of running backs.
Ryan Groy – Guard, 6’5” 318
The Packers typically like to draft college tackles and convert them in to guards, so drafting an actual guard prospect would be a little out of character for them. However, Groy started games at tackle, center and guard while at Wisconsin, so he does have the versatility that Packers do seem to covet in offensive linemen.
A mid to late round pick, Groy was incredibly durable during his time at Wisconsin, never missing a game in his 4 year career.
Dezmen Southward – Safety, 6’ 206
Southward put up impressive numbers at the Wisconsin pro day, running a sub 4.4 40 and putting up a 42” vertical leap, which would have tied him with Ryan Shazier for the best at the combine. Southward is considered a late round prospect, but his pro day may have opened some eyes around the NFL.
Considering how great of a need the Packers have at safety, I don’t see them drafting someone like Southward, who is more of a developmental prospect. However, it is possible the Packers could address safety in free agency or earlier in the draft, which would allow them to take a shot at a player like Southward late in the draft.
Jacob Pederson – Tight End, 6’3” 238
A late round prospect, Pederson should be able to contribute immediately in the NFL on special teams, and eventually in the passing game.
I’m not sure how much value Pederson would provide to the Packers considering their current lineup of tight ends, who are all very similar in size and weight to Pederson. I think drafting a larger blocking tight end such as Iowa’s CJ Fiedorowicz or Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas would be much more beneficial to the Packers.
Beau Allen – Defensive Tackle, 6’3” 329
A combine snub, Allen put up some pretty impressive numbers at the Badgers pro day, including 30 reps on the bench press, a 31” vertical, and a 8’8” broad jump.
Likely a late round pick or undrafted free agent, Allen’s experience playing defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme as well as nose tackle in 3-4 scheme should make him an appealing prospect to any NFL team looking for a big bodied run stuffer. And with the Packers possibly parting ways with both Ryan Pickett and BJ Raji, Allen would make a lot of sense for the Packers in the later rounds.——————