Eight Badgers continue 'Path to the Draft' at combine

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Alabama and LSU were pretty good last year. I think most rational people will agree on that. To be a good team, you need good players. Again, pretty much a no-brainer. And if you are a good player in college, you will go on to play in the NFL. A pretty simple equation. Good college teams have good players who move on to the NFL.

So it shouldn't come as a huge shock that Alabama had the most players (9) invited to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. Nor should anyone be surprised that LSU was tied for second with eight players. Here's where the script deviates a little. One of three teams LSU is tied with is Wisconsin. While that may give some people pause, it shouldn't.

Six players from UW's record-breaking 2011 offense are heading to Indianapolis. That is the most offensive players from one school. Included in that group are three offensive linemen. Wisconsin has a long tradition of producing NFL caliber o-linemen and just last year had three drafted (Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt and Bill Nagy) each of whom started for their respective teams on opening weekend.

The Badgers have won back-to-back Big Ten titles and to do that, you need some talent. Looking at the players who made the jump to the NFL last year and those preparing to do so this year tells you a little about just how talented they were.

Last year, six Badgers were invited to the combine, five were drafted, a total of 12 were in NFL camps when they kicked off in July and eight of them stuck with NFL teams. A total of 23 former Badgers were under NFL contract last season, a number that should grow this year.

Kirk_Cousins_Handoff.jpgOf the eight Badgers invited to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, offensive linemen Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler look to be the highest-rated. After that, QB Russell Wilson intrigues a lot of teams with his athleticism and makeup. WR Nick Toon is a big body with good hands. FB Bradie Ewing can do a little bit of everything and is a beast on special teams, something that should earn him a long look at the next level.

As Coach Bielema said a number of times, you just don't see that many people the size of OT Josh Oglesby walking around, even at the NFL level. CB Antonio Fenelus may be a bit undersized but UW's defensive coaches will tell you he has been the Badgers' best player on that side of the ball the last two seasons. Lastly, P Brad Nortman impressed a lot of folks with a good week and good performance at the Senior Bowl.

While they weren't invited to the combine, S Aaron Henry, K Philip Welch, LS Kyle Wojta, DT Patrick Butrym and DE Louis Nzegwu all have shots to be late-round picks or free agent pick-ups.  

All five former Badgers drafted in 2011 started for their teams last year, combining to log 41 starts. That number would have been much higher had Carimi, Moffitt and Nagy not all suffered season-ending injuries. This year's class looks to have a similar impact.

Badgers at the NFL Scouting Combine
Bradie Ewing (RB08)
Antonio Fenelus (DB13)
Peter Konz (OL26)
Brad Nortman (PK06)
Josh Oglesby (OL38)
Nick Toon (WO43)
Russell Wilson (QB18)
Kevin Zeitler (OL54)

Schools with most players at 2012 NFL Scouting Combine
Alabama - 9
Wisconsin - 8
LSU - 8
Georgia - 8
Miami - 8

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