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Written by Andrew Coppens | 29 April 2012

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Wisconsin continues to send banner amounts of talent to the NFL.  Last year it ws 12 players picked and/or signed as undrafted free agents out of college.  That was the most the Badgers had produced in one season in their history.  It was also the most out of any college in the country last year (I'm smelling a great trivia question to pull on all those Meechigan & O$U fans).  All of that was correct until this season as 13 former Badgers were picked (6) or signed as undrafted free agents (7 UFA's).  Here is the list of players and where they are heading:

 

 

 

Kevin Zeitler, G, - Cincinnati Bengals, 1st round, 27th overall 

Peter Konz, C/G - Atlanta Falcons, 2nd round, 55th overall 

Russell Wilson, QB - Seattle Seahawks, 3rd round, 75th overall 

Nick Toon, WR - New Orleans Saints, 4th round, 122nd overall 

Bradie Ewing, FB - Atlanta Falcons, 5th round, 157th overall 

Brad Nortman, P - Carolina Panthers, 6th round, 207th overall 

Aaron Henry, S - Oakland Raiders, UFA 

Jake Byrne, TE - New Orleans Saints, UFA 

Patrick Butrym, DT - San Francisco 49ers, UFA 

Louis Nzegwu, DE - Atlanta Falcons, UFA 

Antonio Fenelus, CB - Indianapolis Colts, UFA 

Josh Oglesby, T - Washington Redskins, UFA *if he passes his physical

Kyle Wojta, LS - Chicago Bears, UFA

 

Good luck to all the former Badgers and... ON WISCONSIN!

 

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 28 April 2012

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(photo courtesy Ken Coppens/MadTown Badgers)

A blustery, cold, and damp day held the Badger faithful crowd to low numbers, but those that were in attendance for the annual spring game were treated to a lot of defense, inconsistent at best play from the wide receiver group, and a heavy dose of running back Melvin Gordon.  

He clearly was the star of the game offensively.  He had 159 yards rushing on 30 carries (5.3 avg) and 1TD to lead the Cardinal to a 21-10 win over the White in the annual spring game.

"(Running backs coach) Thomas (Hammock) and myself both wanted to see Melvin grind it out," said Head Coach Bret Bielema.  "That's one of the things he hasn't had to do and that's something I was happy to see today. He almost got stronger as the day went on, in my opinion. I was really excited to see him handle this whole game,"

Defensively the Cardinal group of Ethan Hemer, Pat Muldoon, Beau Allen, and Brendan Kelly simply over-matched the backup group of offensive linemen and at one point had three straight massive pressures on Brennan, but only Allen's actually counted as a sack since their was no-contact allowed on the QB's.

After the starting frount four linebacker Jake Keefer really stood out as he recorded 6 tackles (2nd on the team) and also 1 tackle-for-loss.  

As for the game itself, the first quarter of action was really all about the running backs.  Melvin Gordon broke off a few long ones and led the Cardinal to first downs.  His long run of the day, 27 yards, set up the only score in the quarter.  The Cardinal went up 7-0 on a pass from Joel Stave to Chase Hammond.  Hammond did a great job of fighting after the catch to stretch out for the TD.  The scoring drive was typical Wisconsin in it's 10 play, 63 yard, 5:38 fashion.

It was clear from the get go that Stave was separating himself from Joe Brennan and the day bore that out.  Stave finished 14-25 for 135 yards with 1TD and 1INT.  Brennan went 0-for-the 1st quarter on his way to a 2-11 day.  He had just 24 yards and didn't throw a touchdown or a pick.  

In the second frame of action there wasn't much more to report than the defense dominating play, until a time eating drive that began around the 6 minute mark of the quarter.  That drive ended in a Melvin Gordon TD, but was highlighted by a great catch by Kenzel Doe deep over the middle for 26 yards from Stave.  After that we saw a lot of Gordon, who punched it in from the two yard line to make the score 17-6.  

After another White drive that went no where the Cardinal had an opportunity to drive again, but three drops and a nice knock down on defense saw them stall out around midfield.  The score remained 17-6 as they headed to the half.

Coming out of the half the third quarter saw little action of note, other than a nice sideline throw from Joel Stave to Isiah Williams.  

The highlight of the 2nd half actually happened in between the 3rd and 4th quarters during the "rapid kicking" session.  Kicker Kyle French went 5 of 6 in the period, hitting all but his final attempt from 57 yards out in the period.  From there on the game provided little in the way of excitement of the offensive variety.  In fact the final score of 21-10 stood after the kicking session.

Check back with us tomorrow for more in-depth analysis of each side of the ball. 

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 28 April 2012

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Fullback Bradie Ewing was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Ewing joins teammate, center, Peter Konz who was selected by the Falcons in the second round last night.

In total, five Badgers have had their names called in the first five rounds of the draft.

Additional information will be posted when it becomes available.

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 28 April 2012

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Receiver Nick Toon was the first Badger taken on day three of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was selected in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints with pick No. 122.

As always, be sure to check back for additional information on this developing story.

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 27 April 2012

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Russell Wilson grabbed the spotlight when he was picked by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The move may have turned a few heads in the football world, but Wilson was far from surprised.

“I definitely knew they were a serious team,” said Wilson in an interview with ESPN. “I met with them several times, from the Senior Bowl, to the combine and I’ve talk to them over the phone a few times as well.”

Wilson enters an interesting quarterback situation in Seattle. The Seahawks recently signed former Packers’ backup Matt Flynn to a three-year deal, while 2011 acquisition Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst will also do their best to figure into the mix once again this season.

The 2012 NFL season will present yet another chance for Wilson to prove himself in a new set of surroundings.  The west-coast style offense will be very similar to the offensive philosophies that he dealt with during his time at North Carolina State.

“It’s a great offense to be in, that west-coast style,” Wilson said. “I’m very, very familiar with it from playing at N.C. State. I believe I have a tremendous knowledge of it, but I want to know it all.”

Though his height has been a well-discussed issue throughout the course of the offseason, Wilson is not going to let it determine his future.

“My height doesn’t define my skillset,” Wilson said. “I believe that I have all the skills and I have to work at it every day. I know that I’m 5-11, but I have to play tall in the pocket.”

It’s worth noting that Wilson isn’t the first sub-six foot quarterback to take snaps for the Seahawks in recent memory. Former starter Seneca Wallace also measured just 5-11.

Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll was excited about adding to Wilson to the roster.

“With Russell, this is such an incredible athlete that has had extraordinary historic success – done some things that people have never thought of doing before,” Carroll said. “The fact that he is also such an extraordinary kid, he can handle all the pressure he’s going to be under and all the scrutiny that he’s always had."

The impending addition of Wilson combined with John Moffitt and Chris Maragos makes three former Badgers on the Seahawks’ roster.

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 27 April 2012

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When it was all said and done, Peter Konz was, indeed, the first center picked in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, his selection at 55th overall came as a bit of surprise.

Though he was selected later than projected, Konz still appears to have found a good home. Badgers’ head coach Bret Bielema mentioned in a tweet shortly after the news broke that he had received a phone call from the Falcons’ front office earlier in the day inquiring about Konz. Bielema tweeted that he “felt like they [Atlanta] wanted him pretty bad.”

Konz is the first Big 10 player drafted by Falcons’ General Manager Thomas Dimitroff in his five years with Atlanta.

Though Konz is expected to immediately compete for a starting position, it is not clear where he fits in the puzzle at this point.

“There’s no question about it, this is what our goal was,” Dimitroff said in reference to the chances of Konz competing for a spot.

Dimitroff also mentioned that he foresees his team taking advantage of the versatility that he sees in Konz.

Falcons’ digital content manager Jay Adams tweeted that, “Konz is projecting at guard for the Falcons. Thinking he’ll be a day 1 starter at RG.”

Regardless of which position he ends up playing, it was clear that the second –team All-American was thrilled to be selected.

“Being an NFL football player now, getting the opportunity is amazing,” Konz said in a teleconference with Atlanta media. “It doesn’t matter where I fell to because I love the team that picked me. I have nothing but great respect for the organization. Now I get to help be part of a winning tradition.”

He also expressed a willingness to do whatever his new team asked of him

“At Wisconsin they made sure I knew tackle, guard and center,” Konz said. “Any way I can help the team, that’s my responsibility.”

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 27 April 2012

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Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson was picked with the 77th overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

Though he was selected earlier than anticipated, it appears likely that he will serve as a backup to newly acquired starter Matt Flynn. 

Wilson is now the third Badger drafted in this year's draft. Check back later this evening for more information on Russell Wilson and the rest of the Badgers' who have been selected.

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 27 April 2012

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Wisconsin junior center Peter Konz has been selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He is currently the second Badger to have his name called. Keep it here for continuing coverage of this developing story.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 27 April 2012

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Wisconsin football is known for a few things such as big offensive lineman and running backs.  But it's also known for it's amazing ability to pluck walk-on's that become stars by the end of their time in the Badger program.  One such person is now former Badger fullback Bradie Ewing, who's sitting beside the phone and tv waiting to see if he becomes the latest walk-on to NFL draftee out of Wisconsin.

The process of getting to where he is now has been paved in hard work from the time he came to Wisconsin as a freshman through now.  The process of the NFL Draft has been a different animal altogether though.

"It was a little unexpected, kind of crazy," said Ewing of the draft process to date.  "Probably the biggest shocker to me was the combine.  All the medical stuff and the psychological testing, it kind of opened my eyes."

It wasn't all hard though, there's got to be some fun involved in the process, right?

"I consider myself kind of an average Joe, so getting to compete with the guys that you hear about at the combine and the Senior Bowl [was] interesting," said Ewing about the fun part of his draft process.

There's that and the fact that Ewing, amid the chaos of the NFL Draft process, found time to squeeze in a wedding.

Badger fans know what Bradie Ewing is capable of as we've seen him open gaping holes for running backs like Montee Ball, John Clay, and James White.  It's also known that he's much more than just a typical fullback.  But, what does Bradie see as helping him gain an edge in possibly hearing his name over the next two days?

"Being a former running back and having some of the experience that way can help," he said.

"Showing I'm more than just a put my head down and hit people kind of guy is big.  A lot of guys can do that, [but] being athletic and bringing some running back skills as well as being able to catch the ball out of the backfield helps me separate from the competition."

Besides that there's an area that most rookies are thrust in to and that's special teams.  

"I've played Special Teams all four years in college.  Especially as a fullback, and as a rookie in general I think it's something you need to do," Ewing said.  "There's only 53 roster spots and to be one of the 53 you need to be able to do a lot of things.  It gives me an edge, but at the same time you have to produce."

Some would say fullback is a dying art in the NFL, but a former Badger named Chris Pressley is providing some hope in that area for not just Ewing but all aspiring to the position at the highest level.  

"Being able to see someone like that [Chris Pressley]," he said.  "It kind of gives you optimism and excitement." 

Now that it's down to the draft itself what does Bradie hope to have happen this weekend?  Growing up in Richland Center, Bradie was naturally two things: a Badger fan and a Packer fan.  He's gotten to live out one dream and another dream could be on the horizon, just not the same as the one growing up.

"Obviously being from this state and growing up a Packer fan you know that would be, much like playing for the Badgers, a dream come true." said Ewing.  "But, at the same time I'm just looking forward to hearing my name called.  Any team that's willing to invest in me and my talents, I'm excited to be a part of that program and buy in to what they've got going on."

Back at the University of Wisconsin he finds that this program and it's tradition of walk-on success is in good hands.

He believes that guys like Jared Abbrederis, Ethan Hemer, and Ethan Armstrong will be able to pass along the tradition of walk-on to star at the University of Wisconsin and some, like Abbrederis have already done that.

"I think that's what this program is all about.  Kids that come in and work hard, have opportunities and make the most of them," said Ewing about the walk-on tradition at the university.

In true low key Bradie Ewing fashion he plans on watching the draft with his new bride and his immediate family.  He's hoping to see all of his hard work pay off by hearing his name called over the next few days but knows that's just the beginning of more hard work ahead.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 27 April 2012

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On Tuesday's edition of Badgers Power Hour Arman and myself talked about some of the things we'd be watching for on Saturday in the Spring football game and if you haven't checked that out already I highly suggest doing so as it's pretty in depth and player specific.  However, things haveGordon been changing over this week with injuries, announcements, etc. involving the roster of players available for the game on Saturday.

With the changes and all that's happened since just Tuesday we present you with a small guide to the positions and players you should be watching for in Saturday's spring football game.  After all the score doesn't matter, it's all about player development, right?

Things We'll Be Watching on Saturday: 

1. Melvin Gordon: All indications are that Gordon has really been explosive behind the new offensive line and with almost, if not all, other running backs out of the game on Saturday look for this to be as good a chance as any for Gordon to plant his flag as a candidate for the top backup spot behind Montee Ball.  Ball will be one of those players on the sidelines, but that's do to coaches decision and not any injury at all.  

Don't forget, Gordon isn't wearing number 3 this season and is now back to his high school number of 25.

Gordon flashed a bit in the small sample size during his freshman season last year, however a groin injury that nagged him could've been a blessing in disguise as he was able to redshirt and with a great spring game he's got a chance to really launch himself into major playing time this season. 

Looking at Gordon and watching to see if he's 1) EXplosive going to the line and 2) if he can handle the full-time carries load should be something worth seeing on Saturday.  He'll need to show that he's not just an edge guy and by all reports he's already begun to prove that, but doing it in a "game" format instead of practice are two different things. no comments

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