Why Undrafted?: Beau Benzschawel

Why Undrafted?: Beau Benzschawel, G, Wisconsin
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

For a long time, Wisconsin has been a factory for NFL offensive line talent, producing a robust rushing attack that has been nearly unstoppable over the last 30 years since Barry Alvarez brought Badger football to life.

Year in and year out, Wisconsin has sent quality blockers to the NFL, and many thought that would be the case this year as guard Michael Deiter, right tackle David Edwards and guard Beau Benzschawel were prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Edwards struggled in 2018 to disprove the hype from some in the media and Benzschawel never caught fire as a prospect. Still, it was surprising to some that Benzschawel was not selected on the final day of the 2019 NFL Draft and fell to the undrafted ranks.

One team source said they had Benzschawel graded as a late-round pick but just happened to slip out of the draft. A source at another team said they had him graded as a free agent, so they felt it was appropriate that he went into the undrafted ranks.

After going undrafted, Benzschawel signed with the Detroit Lions, and that was a good landing spot for him. Detroit’s offensive line was a disappointing unit in 2018, so the organization will be on the look out for any upgrades it can find. Benzschawel won’t unseat left guard Frank Ragnow or center Graham Glasgow, but he could compete for playing time at right guard, where the Lions need help. Most likely, Benzschawel won’t win a starting spot, but if he plays well in the preseason, he could definitely stick with the Lions as a backup. From there, Benzschawel will need to improve his ability to handle NFL speed rushers, show that he is reliable in pass protection, and prove an ability to get a push in the ground game. Benzschawel definitely has a shot at sticking with Detroit, and a year or two on the practice squad could benefit him toward making it in the NFL.

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