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Homeless Badgers: Where the Undrafted Wisconsin Players will Land

Written by Tanner Johnson

The 2019 Draft is over and Wisconsin Badgers saw 4 of their most recent alumni get drafted; which is a disappointing number based off of many experts’ projections. I saw as many as 7 and only a few guys projecting 5.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of teams out there that will be signing former Badgers in the coming days as undrafted free agents and several already have. Jonathan Casillas of the New York Giants has played for 10 years and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints. Being drafted is not a requirement to have a successful NFL Career.

There are at least 6 Wisconsin players I predict will get invited to camps, that list includes Alec Ingold (Oakland Raiders), T.J. Edwards (Philadelphia Eagles), Chris James (Chicago Bears) and Beau Benzschawel (Detroit Lions) who have already been signed. In addition to the 4 who’ve already signed, D’Cota Dixon and Olive Sagapolu are likely to find deals soon. Taiwan Deal is also on the market, but I can’t confidently predict him being signed.

Alec Ingold should have been drafted and he should have been drafted by the Green Bay Packers. I told GM Brian Gutekunst how to do his job and now Jon Gruden just got the second coming of Mike Alstott, awesome job Gute.

T.J. Edwards was a standout player in Madison and he improved every offseason; which is incredibly important to scouts. I saw him projected as high as the 5th round and nearly all of the projections came in the 6th round. I only saw one “expert” project he may go undrafted. The Eagles scooped up Edwards almost immediately after the draft and he’ll have a good shot at making that roster with only one true ILB on the team.

Chris James was a bit of a surprise signing by the Chicago Bears. James transferred from Pitt, following Head Coach Paul Chryst, and had the misfortune of one of the greatest running backs in Wisconsin history, Jonathan Taylor, being a Badger at the same time.

James didn’t get many reps and he didn’t get to show much to the Wisconsin faithful, but the Bears must have seen something they liked because he was signed last night as well.

Beau Benzschawel is the biggest draft snub of 2019. He graded out as the 2nd best Badger in the draft. He had a solid combine performance and was a 1st-team All-American last year! What is there not to like?! 6’6 and 310 lbs is an extremely desirable size for an offensive lineman. I can’t figure out why he went undrafted, but the Detroit Lions will probably replace T.J. Lang with Beau Benzschawel.

D’Cota Dixon was less surprising to go undrafted, mainly due to injury problems his senior year at Wisconsin, but I was surprised not to hear his name called. Dixon overcame an extremely rough childhood and excelled in Madison. His Sophomore year was his best, posting solid numbers (60 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 4 interceptions and 4 pass breakups).

He should get a chance on an NFL roster, but he’s going to have to overcome the injury bug. At Wisconsin, Dixon moved all over and did well with it. I expect him to try his hardest to stay at Safety in the NFL.

Olive Sagapolu did not surprise me one bit going undrafted, but I expect he’ll be signed and given a shot at Nose Tackle. Sagapolu isn’t ginormous, isn’t lightning quick and truthfully doesn’t have the stats to command the attention from many teams. However, he has a motor on him and would make a great change-of-pace Nose Tackle we’re seeing more and more.

It’s probably a long shot, but Sagapolu could play a role as the annoying Nose Tackle who throws offensive linemen off their rhythm. Chances of making a pro bowl are almost 0, but chances of making a roster are pretty good.

How many Badgers do you think will get signed as Undrafted Free Agents?

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About the author

Tanner Johnson