In a recent seven round mock draft, we see five members from the Wisconsin Football program selected.
Mock drafts are being released left and right and with still roughly six weeks to go before draft night, we’ve already seen hundreds of mocks released at this point. However, what we haven’t seen is many seven round mock drafts, but Luke Easterling of the Draft Wire has just released his first of the offseason. And in it, we saw five members of the Wisconsin Football team selected.
Now, I’m sure you can probably guess who these five players are but this list includes Jonathan Taylor who is the most accomplished running back in this class, had an excellent showing at the combine, and proved in 2019 that he can be a weapon in the passing game.
Then we have Quintez Cephus whose draft stock has been ascending but his performance at the combine in the 40-yard dash left some question marks in regards to his speed. However, on the tape he certainly looks much quicker than 4.73 and of course he has very reliable hands.
Moving on we have Zack Baun who after an All-American senior season has been flying up draft boards as more draft analysts see the versatility that he has to rush the passer while also being capable in coverage. Not to mention that he had a nice showing at the Senior Bowl and at the combine as well.
And the last of this Badger group that was invited to the combine is Tyler Biadasz who was the 2019 Rimington Award winner which is given to the nation’s top center and he is as steady as they come. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to participate in the on the field tests at the combine with a shoulder injury.
However, we can’t forget one name that has flown under the radar to many outside of the state of Wisconsin and that is linebacker, Chris Orr. Orr is coming off a season where he tallied 78 tackles, 14 of which were for a loss, along with 11.5 sacks. And he could very well be next on the list of Badger linebackers finding success in the NFL.
So with these being the five players selected in Easterling’s latest seven round mock draft, now let’s take a look at where they end up. And as always, I’ll provide my big takeaways.
Round 1, Pick 29: Jonathan Taylor – Tennessee
Takeaway: With the uncertainty around pending free agent Derrick Henry’s future in Tennessee, Taylor to the Titans would make a lot of sense. This is a Titans team that relies heavily on the run game as a part of their offensive success and identity, which sounds very familiar to the Wisconsin football team, doesn’t it?
During his three years at Madison, Taylor has shown that he can handle a heavy work load with an average of over 300 carries per season and as I mentioned earlier, he’s also shown that he can be a weapon in the passing game as well. Just find a way to get him into the open field and he will take care of the rest. If Taylor does end up with the Titans, I think overall it is a very good fit for both parties.
Round 2, Pick 41: Tyler Biadasz – Cleveland
Takeaway: The Cleveland Browns have spent a lot of money and draft capital to add playmakers to their offense but their offensive line is still in need of some help. Enter Tyler Biadasz who like many Badger lineman before him is incredibly consistent, reliable and will help provide Cleveland with some stability at an important position.
Round 3, Pick 67: Zack Baun – Detroit
Takeaway: At the NFL level Zack Baun is going to be an off-ball linebacker and because of that versatility that he had shown at Wisconsin to rush the passer, defend the run, and also drop into coverage, he has the skill set to be a three down linebacker in the NFL. Which is highly coveted and it’s a big reason that many have him as a first round draft pick. However in this scenario, Easterling has him falling all the way to Round 3 which as this point, looks like an absolute steal for the Lions.
Round 3, Pick 103: Chris Orr – Philadelphia
Takeaway: After putting together a productive final season at Wisconsin, Orr was still not invited to the combine and I must admit seeing him as a third round selection came as a bit of a surprise. Orr isn’t going to be effective in coverage situations like Baun, but he has shown that he can hold up well against the run and he knows how to pressure the quarterback. At least at this point in his career, he isn’t a three down linebacker at the NFL level but in the right situation as a complimentary piece, Orr can be very effective.
Orr’s pro-day performance, which is taking place as I’m writing this, is going to be very important for him and his draft stock.
Round 4, Pick 135: Quintez Cephus – Pittsburgh
Takeaway: Cephus’ combine results were a mixed bag. He led all receivers with 23 reps on the bench press and he also performed well in the explosive drills. However, his 40 yard dash and 3-cone drill times were not pretty. And arguably, those were the most important on the field drills for him. Teams know he can catch, but they wanted to see some speed to know that he can create separation at the NFL level.
Although Cephus’ struggled in those events, if you put on the tape, it tells a much different story. He certainly plays much fast than those times would suggest, he creates good separation at the line of scrimmage off his release, and he has fantastic hands. In a more pass happy offense he easily would have put up bigger numbers and could very well be on the radar of more teams if that were the case.
In recent years we’ve seen that the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have a knack for finding good NFL receivers in the draft and I think Cephus definitely has that potential.