This page was last updated April 24, 2013. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Travis Frederick*, C/G, Wisconsin
Height: 6-4. Weight: 312. Arm: 33.08.
40 Time: 5.58.
Projected Round (2013): 2-3.
4/24/13: The consensus opinion has Frederick as the top center in the 2013 NFL Draft. He could easily be the first one selected, but that would probably only be to a team that runs a man-blocking scheme. A zone-blocking scheme would probably prefer David Quessenberry or Brian Schwenke.
Frederick moved to center in 2012. The senior wasn’t as dominant there as he was at guard in 2011. The Badgers were struggling to run the ball early this season, but heated up going against weak Big Ten competition. Frederick struggled against Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill and didn’t do well against Stanford.
For the NFL, Frederick needs to get better in his pass protection and ability to block speed-rushers. He had a disappointing Combine as he ran slowly, did poorly in the field drills and had a low total on the bench press (21 reps).
8/24/12: Frederick had an excellent 2011 season for the Badgers. He was a tremendous run-blocker, paving the way for running back Montee Ball. Frederick, Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler were a dynamic interior that was dominant at the point of attack. Frederick is a road-grading guard like Zeitler who can push around defensive linemen. Also like Zeitler, his weakness comes in pass protection with speed-rushing defensive tackles.
Frederick won’t have Konz and Zeitler this year, but Wisconsin’s offensive system continuously churns out powerful offensive linemen. Frederick should have another good season in 2012 as a run-blocker for Ball.
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. If plays well against that trio, Frederick will stand a good shot of being a first-rounder in 2013 or 2014.
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Height: 5-11. Weight: 214.
Projected 40 Time: 4.66.
Projected Round (2013): 2-4.
4/24/13: There seems to be a bigger buzz about Ball in the media than there is with NFL teams. WalterFootball.com has been told by some scouts that they aren’t impressed with Ball. He had a very slow 40 time at the Combine. Ball should be a third-day pick in this writer’s opinion, but it sounds like he will go as high as the second round.
Ball started his senior season slowly, but heated up in conference play. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry this year on his way to 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns. Ball had huge games against Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana and Nebraska. He had a costly fumble against Ohio State on the goal line in the fourth quarter.
Ball also had a fumble late in the fourth quarter to end Wisconsin’s hopes of tying Nebraska. The slow start to the season wasn’t Ball’s fault completely as the Badgers’ new quarterback and offensive line were a big drop off from 2011. Ball should’ve entered the 2012 NFL Draft. He declined to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl.
8/16/12: In September of 2011 I wrote this: “Montee Ball could be a player who explodes across the national scene quickly in the 2011 season with John Clay no longer at Wisconsin. Ball came on like gangbusters late in the (2010) season for the Badgers with five straight 100-yard games with a total of 777 yards in those five contests. He was third on the team in rushing behind Clay and James White, but Ball led the team with 18 touchdowns. Ball has a nice blend of power and speed that will appeal to NFL coaches and scouts. He hits the hole quickly and is hard to bring down.”
That turned out to be a relative understatement as Ball was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He ran for 1,923 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, and 33 touchdowns in 2011. Ball also caught 24 passes for 306 yards and six scores. His 39 total touchdowns were one of the most prolific season totals in college football history, putting him next to Barry Sanders in the record books.
Ball runs with excellent vision, balance and pad level. He is not a burner, but he hits the hole before it closes. It wouldn’t be surprising if Ball’s production declines in 2012 with teams selling out to stop him. His supporting cast is greatly reduced as well. Wisconsin lost center Peter Konz, guard Kevin Zeitler, its offensive line coach, its offensive coordinator, quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Nick Toon.
Ball will also enter the NFL with another season of wear-and-tear on his legs. An additional concern is that he was jumped by a group of men shortly before fall camp, sustaining a concussion in the altercation. The Badgers may reduce how much they use Ball early in the season.
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Height: 6-6. Weight: 308. Arm: 32. Hand: 9 1/2.
40 Time: 5.17.
Projected Round (2013): 4-6.
4/24/13: Wagner did well in pass protection in 2012, but wasn’t getting a consistent push in the ground game in the early portion of the season. The Badgers clearly missed the three linemen the team lost following 2011 along with the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator.
Making Wagner’s job harder was Wisconsin moving Travis Fredrick from left guard to center. Wagner and the Badgers performed better running the ball late in the year against weaker opponents. Wagner didn’t show all that well in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.
Wagner really struggled at the Senior Bowl, too. He was constantly burned by speed-rushers; Texas defensive end Alex Okafor absolutely destroyed him. It was a devastating performance that illustrated that Wagner has to be a right tackle or guard in the NFL. He had one of the lower bench press totals at the Combine with only 20 reps.
8/23/12: Wagner had a strong 2011 season. He opened up a lot of holes for running backs Montee Ball and James White while preventing pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wagner played well against Wisconsin’s better opponents like Nebraska and Michigan State – well, the first meeting. The only games where he had some issues came against Illinois and defensive end Whitney Mercilus and the second battle against Michigan State when William Gholston was in the lineup.
Wagner could stay at left tackle in the NFL, but also could move to right tackle. He is quicker and more athletic than one might think.
Wagner needs to work on sustaining his blocks – both running and passing – for the NFL. He needs to improve his ability to maintain contact on defensive ends and hold onto them longer. The senior needs to improve his overall game this season and make his run blocking and pass blocking more consistent.
Wagner started 10 games for the Badgers at right tackle in 2010 before being moved over to left tackle to replace Gabe Carimi in 2011. Wagner truly is an excellent run-blocker. He is powerful and can drive defenders off the line of scrimmage.
Mike Taylor, OLB, Wisconsin
Height: 6-2. Weight: 222.
Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
Projected Round (2013): FA.
4/24/13: Taylor recorded 123 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, three sacks and four passes broken up in 2012. He had a big game against Utah State with 15 tackles. Taylor is a good college player, but looks short on size and athletic ability to start in the NFL.
8/29/12: Taylor was an All-Big Ten selection last year. The junior was one of the leaders on Wisconsin’s defense and had big-time tackle production. Taylor recorded 150 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and five passes broken up. He is extremely intelligent and instinctive.
Taylor broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He started seven games before losing the rest of year to injury. Taylor recorded 58 tackles in 2010 with eight tackles for a loss, one sack and two interceptions.
The senior is a quality run-defender who has to pack on more size for the NFL. If Taylor weren’t so undersized, he would be a second-day pick.
NFL Picks - Dec. 1
2024 NFL Mock Draft - Nov. 29
Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7
NFL Power Rankings - June 2