Frederick made some history for the Badgers in 2009 when he started the season-opener as a true freshman, the first time that had been accomplished in school history. That is saying something considering Wisconsin has been a factory for NFL offensive linemen. Even legendary offensive tackle Joe Thomas was unable to break into the starting lineup that quickly.
Frederick ended up starting four games as freshman - two at center and two at guard - but was mainly a backup. He started the first two games of the year at center for the injured Peter Konz, and two games at the end of the year at guard after John Moffitt moved to center when Konz had another injury.
Frederick redshirted in the 2010 season. Not because he was injured, but because the Badgers had so many returning starters that they wanted to save eligibility for Frederick to play in 2011-2013. He saw it was best for the program and agreed.
Frederick replaced Moffitt as the starter at left guard last season. The redshirt sophomore had a phenomenal year as a dominant run blocker for Wisconsin. Frederick, Konz and left tackle Ricky Wagner worked extremely well together as running back Montee Ball had one of the most prolific seasons in college football history.
Frederick started two games at center last year while Konz was injured. One of them was the Badgers' victory in the Big Ten Championship. Frederick was dominant in every game with the exception of those versus Michigan State. He had some rough stretches in both games against the Spartans. Frederick had his share of wins as well. Overall, he was one of the better guards in college football in 2011.
2012 Season Outlook:
Even though Wisconsin has lost a lot from its 2011 squad, Frederick should have a dominant season. Briefly, the Badgers lost: Konz, guard Kevin Zeitler, right tackle Josh Oglesby, fullback Bradie Ewing, their offensive line coach, their offensive coordinator, quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Nick Toon.
Despite those losses, Frederick has talent around him as well as Ricky Wagner playing next to him at left tackle. The duo should spring many holes for Ball and running back James White, two excellent college running backs.
The Big Ten lacks the speed and high level of competition of the SEC, but Frederick will battle two potential first-round picks in Purdue's Kawann Short and Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins. Illinois' Akeem Spence should provide another formidable opponent. Those will be the key matchups for Frederick to prove himself to NFL scouts; otherwise Wisconsin plays a lot of cupcakes that he should dominate.
Just like Moffitt and Zeitler, Frederick is a road-grading run-blocker who is a physical force at the point of attack. He has the sheer power to push defensive tackles aside or drive block them straight out of their gap. The redshirt junior could suit up for an NFL game tomorrow and be an effective run-blocker.
Frederick has more mobility than one would expect. He does a nice job of getting downfield on screen passes and hitting blocks on smaller defenders. Frederick also has the ability to pull and hit blocks while moving in the box. Wisconsin has prepared him well with great technique. Moffitt took Frederick under his wing as a young player, and Frederick will enter the NFL as a well-developed prospect.
In pass protection, Frederick is a carbon copy of other Wisconsin interior linemen. Bull rushes do nothing against him. His base is simply too heavy and he has too much power to get pushed back. When defensive tackles try to bull rush him, they get stonewalled.
The way to attack Frederick is with speed. Michigan State's Jerel Worthy illustrated that last year. Frederick has to get better at handling the quick gap-shooters. A speedy three-technique could give him problems in the NFL, so Frederick needs to work on his ability to seal the gap when defenders try to jet by him. The battles against Short, Hankins and Spence should provide a good barometer to see if Frederick has improved in this regard.
It will be interesting to see how the Badgers transition from Konz, and if they turn to Frederick at center. Despite playing some center for Wisconsin, he looks like a better fit at guard in the NFL.
Frederick has gained 10 pounds this offseson; he was listed at 328 last year. Going up to 338 would probably make Frederick too big and not agile enough for what most NFL teams look for at center. If he wants to play center, he should get down in the 315-325 range. That still is bigger than most centers.
The best scheme fit for Frederick would be a power man-blocking scheme. He is too big and probably not quite quick enough for a zone-blocking scheme. NFL sources have raved to WalterFootball.com about Wisconsin's run scheme and how good a job it does at preparing offensive linemen. Frederick should be an instant starter as a pro.
2013 Draft Expectations:
Frederick looks like a late first-round or early second-round pick at this point in 2012. He is a comparable player to Moffitt - second-rounder in the 2011 NFL Draft - and Zeitler - a first-rounder in the 2012 NFL Draft. As long as Frederick stays healthy and holds his own while playing Hankins and Short, that estimation shouldn't change this year or in 2013.
Many Wisconsin linemen stay for all four years, but some like Konz have bucked the trend and entered the draft early. With Wagner in his final season, maybe Frederick will join him in the 2013 NFL Draft.