Wisconsin Football: What the Draft Analysts are Saying about Rachad Wildgoose

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 19: Rachad Wildgoose #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers in action on defense during a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated Wisconsin 24-23. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 19: Rachad Wildgoose #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers in action on defense during a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated Wisconsin 24-23. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Rachad Wildgoose — along with Cole Van Lanen — was one of two members of the Wisconsin Football program to receive an invite to this year’s NFL Combine–although it didn’t take place due to COVID-19. However, that’s still an honor that every NFL Draft hopeful wants to receive, and even if Wildgoose was unable to attend, at Wisconsin’s pro-day, he was still able to show scouts what he’s capable of.

Wildgoose posted a 36″ vertical, a 10’0″ broad jump, but where he really impressed was in the 40-yard dash, where he recorded an unofficial time of 4.41 with an excellent 10-yard split of 1.49. When it was all said and done, Wildgoose posted an 8.46 out of 10 on the Relative Athletic Scoring table, a metric used to compare the overall athleticism of players by their respective position groups.

Since Wildgoose set foot on campus in 2018, he’s been a key player in this Badgers’ defense. As a freshman, while taking most of his coverage snaps out wide, Wildgoose was targeted 53 times, allowing a completion rate of only 53.4 percent and 11.7 yards per catch. He gave up two touchdowns but had six pass breakups and a passer rating of 91.9 when targeted.

In 2019, while still seeing some snaps on the boundary, Wildgoose was the Badgers’ primary nickel corner that season. Again he was targeted heavily, 54 times, but had a completion rate of just 48.1 percent at 12.7 yards per catch. He was scored on three times, came away with five pass breakups, and opposing quarterbacks saw their passer rating fall to 78.4 when throwing his direction.

Due to a shortened 2020 season along with a shoulder injury that led to Wildgoose opting-out, he only appeared in two games but put up similar numbers–obviously on a much smaller sample size.

Wildgoose has good speed, can play inside, outside, or in the box, and in an interview with Jesse Temple of The Athletic, he mentioned that he’s spoken with 28 NFL teams at this point.

When asked what he can bring to an NFL team, Wildgoose had this to say:

"“I feel like to an NFL defense, I’m going to bring confidence, energy and I feel like I’m versatile,” Wildgoose said via The Athletic. “I can play corner, nickel, safety. They can move me around and get big plays all around the field from me. That’s just how I feel.”"

According to the NFL Mock Draft Database, which logs countless mock drafts and has dozens of big boards, Wildgoose is ranked as the 172nd overall prospect in the draft and has a fifth-round projection. Over at Pro Football Focus ($), Wildgoose is the 93rd ranked prospect and 15th cornerback on their big board.

Now let’s take a closer look at Wildgoose’s game and what he can bring to the NFL level, here is what a few draft analysts have to say about him:

Tony Pauline – Pro Football Network

"Positives: Underclassman entry who flashes ball skills but comes with a very thin body of work. Quick-footed pedaling in reverse, fluid flipping his hips, and stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks.Works to get his head back around and locate the pass in the air. Mixes it up with bigger opponents, fights to get off blocks, and works to make his way up the field defending the run or screen passes. Squares and wraps up tackling.Negatives: Bites on ball fakes, gets sucked out of position, and blows assignments. Prefers to side shuffle downfield. Struggled to break into the starting lineup at Wisconsin.Analysis: Wildgoose possesses solid size and flashed ball skills, but he’s unpolished and will need a lot of work on his game before he’s NFL-ready."

Kyle Crabbs – The Draft Network

"“His resume of game tape at Wisconsin was fairly lean and he only played in two games this season before a shoulder injury brought the end of his campaign—not an inspiring sample size to inject excitement into an unsuspecting draft profile. Wildgoose Jr. has shared time between the perimeter and nickel, the latter of which is where I will like him most at the pro level.Coming out of Jim Leonhard’s defensive system, Wildgoose Jr. should offer an NFL team a smart, savvy defensive presence even without the extensive game tape to back it up. The hope for Wildgoose Jr. to eliminate some of the erratic swings in his play was snuffed out by the dynamics of the 2020 season, however, so you do have something of a “flying blind” dynamic with his forecast. Wildgoose Jr. did show a high-level nose for the football in coverage and his quickness will be a useful tool for coverage in the slot.”"

NFL Draft Bible on SI

"“The University of Wisconsin is not exactly a hotbed for NFL defensive backs, having only three defensive backs drafted in the last ten years. Cornerback Rachad Wildgoose has the ability to send that trend in the opposite direction for this decade. Wildgoose primarily aligned at the nickelback position for the Badgers, displaying excellent short area quickness and toughness. Displays excellent football IQ as an underneath defender who wins with great eye discipline in zone coverage when used as a curl/flat defender or buzz player.”"

Wildgoose had a very good pro-day and he is no doubt drawing so much interest from NFL teams in part due to his positional flexibility and the untapped potential that is still there.

While a lot still remains unknown in the pre-draft process, what I do know is that the Wisconsin defense is going to miss having Wildgoose in it.