Kickoff Weekend Update
A total of 25 former Badgers open the 2015 season with an NFL team, including 22 who currently are listed on active rosters.
Among Big Ten teams, only Ohio State (26) and Penn State (25) open the season with more active-roster NFL players than the Badgers.
Only Alabama (8), Iowa (7), Miami (7) and Tennessee (7) boast more NFL offensive linemen than Wisconsin’s six.
The 2014 NFL season came to a close with two more Wisconsin products, LB Jonathan Casillas and RB James White, earning rings as New England defeated Seattle and its pair of Badgers products, LB O’Brien Schofield and QB Russell Wilson, in Super Bowl XILX.
Casillas (New York Giants) and Schofield (Atlanta) are among the three Badgers who will line up for new teams in 2015, joining TE Owen Daniels, who heads to Denver for his 10th NFL season.
Fresh off one of the best individual seasons in college football history, RB Melvin Gordon was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by San Diego, where he has already proven himself to be ahead of the curve through early offseason workouts. Senior RT Rob Havenstein was drafted in the second round by St. Louis and has the inside track on a starting job on the Rams’ offensive line as a rookie.
Senior DL Warren Herring wasn’t picked but signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent and was eventually released when the Falcons cut down to their 53-man roster.
Other players that did not make 53-man rosters: RB Montee Ball (Denver), OL Gabe Carimi (Atlanta), OL Ryan Groy (New England), OL Peter Konz (Atlanta) and WR Nick Toon (New Orleans). Groy, Konz and Toon each reached injury settlements with their respective teams.
WR Jared Abbrederis was released by Green Bay but signed on as a member of the Packers’ practice squad, with CB Marcus Cromartie (San Francisco) and DL Ethan Hemer (Pittsburgh) also earning practice squad spots.
Three Badgers announced their retirement from the league in the offseason, with 49ers LB Chris Borland stepping away a successful rookie season, Jaguars FB Bradie Ewing ending his time in pro football after three seasons and Browns S Jim Leonhard closing a fantastic 10-year career.
(Updated Sept. 9, 2015)
#84 | Jared Abbrederis (2009-13) Green Bay Packers • WR • 6-1 • 195 • NFL Experience: 2nd season • Acquired: 2014 NFL Draft (5th Round)
Second season in 2015 ... selected by Philadelphia with 224th overall pick in seventh round of 2014 NFL Draft … played in all 16 games for the Eagles along the defensive line, finishing with 10 tackles and 0.5 sacks
Seventh season in 2015 ... won Super Bowl XLIX with New England … traded from Tampa Bay to New England on Oct. 28, 2014 … played five games with three starts for Tampa Bay and nine games with three starts for New England … made one tackle in Patriots’ playoff win over Baltimore … recorded season-high nine tackles vs. Buffalo in Week 17
Third season in 2015 ... signed to San Francisco’s practice squad on Dec. 13 after being released by San Diego and was immediately elevated to active roster … had a tackle and pass breakup vs. Arizona in Week 17 … recorded first three tackles of his career vs. San Diego in Week 16 … made his NFL debut in Week 15 vs. Seattle … promoted to San Diego's active roster from the practice squad on Dec. 16, 2013 … spent first 14 weeks of 2013 season on Chargers' practice squad ... signed by the Chargers in May 2013
10th season in 2015 ... signed with Denver as free agent on March 10 … played in 15 games with 13 starts for Baltimore in 2014, logging 48 catches for 527 yards and four TDs … signed by Baltimore on April 3, 2014 ... played first eight seasons for Houston after being selected in fourth round of 2006 NFL Draft
Third season in 2015 … started all 16 games at center in 2014 … selected for 2015 Pro Bowl … second-team All-Pro choice … named to SI.com’s midseason All-Pro Team … has made all 32 regular-season starts at center in two years with Dallas
Second season in 2015 … made his NFL debut in Week 14 vs. Dallas … started last three games of the season at left guard … signed by Chicago as an undrafted free agent … spent the first 10 weeks of the season on the Bears’ practice squad … was elevated to the active roster on Nov. 10
Seventh season in 2015 … finished second in the NFL with 151 total tackles … ranked eighth in the NFL with 16 tackles for loss … second-team All-Pro selection … named to SI.com’s midseason All-Pro Team … started all 16 games for the Lions, registering double-digit tackles in 11 games … helped Lions to Monday Night Football win over Giants in Week 1, making 10 tackles and snagging an interception en route to being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week
Seventh season in 2015 … played in eight games with seven starts in 2014, totaling 17 tackles … missed eight games with a knee injury … started four of final five games of regular season after returning from injury, making 11 tackles over that stretch
Second season in 2015 … played in all 16 games in 2014, totaling 20 tackles, 1.0 sack, one interception and two passes defended … selected by Atlanta with the 68th overall pick in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft
Ninth season in 2015… eight-time Pro Bowl selection … first offensive lineman in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons … first-team All-Pro selection in 2014, the fifth time in his career … named to SI.com’s midseason All-Pro Team … started all 16 games at tackle for the Browns … has started all 128 games in his eight seasons
Fifth season in 2015 … named 2014 NFL Defensive Player of the Year … runner-up for 2014 NFL MVP … unanimous first-team All-Pro selection … Pro Bowl pick … started all 16 games, logging 78 tackles, 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 10 passes defended and an interception … ranked second in NFL with his 20.5 sacks … first player in league history with multiple season of at least 20 sacks … scored four touchdowns (3 receiving, 1 interception return) … three-time Pro Bowl selection … two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014) … three-time first-team All-Pro selection (2012, 2013, 2014)
Fourth season in 2015 … has started all 48 games in three seasons with Seattle … owns the most regular-season wins by a quarterback in his first three seasons (36) in NFL history … two-time Pro Bowl selection … guided the Seahawks to their second-consecutive Super Bowl berth in 2014 … led all QBs with 849 rushing yards in 2014 … also led the NFL at 7.2 yards per carry … completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,475 yards and 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions … became first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300-plus and rush for 100-plus yards in a game, passing for 313 yards and running for 106 vs. St. Louis on Oct. 19