A quartet of Wisconsin Badgers will join five of their former teammates who were drafted Friday and Saturday in pursuit of employment in the National Football League.
Shortly after the NFL Draft concluded Saturday, there was a feeding frenzy by teams to sign those players who were unselected. Four of those UDFAs (undrafted free agents) played for the Badgers last season, according to a release from the UW athletic department.
Offensive lineman Ryan Groy, a native of Middleton, signed with the Chicago Bears. Defensive end Ethan Hemer of Medford signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two former Badgers, tight ends Jacob Pedersen and Brian Wozniak, signed with the Atlanta Falcons, where they will join safety Dezmen Southward, who was drafted in the third round by Atlanta on Friday.
Groy, 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the conference’s coaches, starting all 13 games at left guard. He played in a school-record 54 games, never missing one during his career, and made 33 starts at left guard, left tackle, center and fullback.
Hemer, 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, played in all 13 games and started eight at defensive end for the Badgers last season. The former walk-on had 13 tackles, two for loss.
Pederson, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, caught 17 touchdown passes in his career at Wisconsin, the most ever by a Badger tight end. He made 39 catches last season for 541 yards and three touchdowns, starting in 12 games, missing the Ohio State game with a hamstring injury.
Wozniak, 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, started 10 games last season and played in all 13. More of a blocking tight end, Wozniak caught five passes for 26 yards last year, but four of those catches were for touchdowns.
Other Badgers to be drafted included linebacker Chris Borland (third round, San Francisco 49ers); running back James White (fourth round, New England Patriots); wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (fifth round, Green Bay Packers); and defensive tackle Beau Allen (seventh round, Philadelphia Eagles).