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Top Wisconsin Badger Prospects to Watch for 2023 NFL Draft

An in-depth look at the best prospects on the Badgers' roster heading into the 2022 season

The Badgers have become the team to beat in the Big Ten East, but they struggled to start last season, leading to a second-place finish. They had to play Penn State, Notre Dame and Michigan in the first four weeks, three of the top teams in the nation. Wisconsin did bounce back, winning eight of their final nine games. The Badgers had a really solid draft class, led by junior linebacker Leo Chenal and senior offensive linemen Logan Bruss, both going on day two. Tight end Jake Ferguson, defensive linemen Matt Henningsen and cornerback Faion Hicks all heard their names called on day three. Next season though, the Badgers have the talent to compete for a Big Ten championship and put together one of their best draft classes in recent memory. Here are the top prospects to keep an eye on this fall for the Badgers (Alphabetical):

Tyler Beach OL: 

Tyler Beach OL

Beach's best fit will be at guard at the next level, as he lacks the athleticism to stick at tackle. With that being said, he has held his own as a blindside protector, displaying impressive technique and power. Beach is most likely transitioning to guard, where he'll get a shot to show his versatility this season. Right now, Beach is a pro-ready prospect who has good enough size to get drafted next April.

Keeanu Benton DT: 

Keeanu Benton DT

It was easy to see that Benton was an NFL player, dating back to his freshman season. He has NFL size and play strength to hold up at the next level. Benton will be able to play as a nose tackle and has the chance to play early on in his NFL career. The upside as a pass rusher isn't there, but Benton has the film and skill set to play for a while in the NFL.

Nick Herbig OLB: 

Nick Herbig

One of the best returning players in college football, Herbig broke out in a big way for the Badgers last season. He was consistently in the backfield, utilizing really good bend and flexibility to get to the quarterback. He is a perfect fit for Wisconsin's defense and should be in contention to be an All-American next season. Herbig's biggest question mark isn't his play on the field but rather his projection at the next level. He is too small to stick as a pass rusher and will likely have to transition to linebacker. Former Wisconsin Badger outside linebacker Zack Baun has struggled to make that switch, which could make teams wary of Herbig. He's an NFL player, though.

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Graham Mertz QB: 

Graham Mertz

Mertz has been pretty inconsistent since after a breakout first game to start his career against Illinois. With that being said, he has an NFL arm, and the flashes will entice teams. With a star-studded offensive line and an excellent running game, this could be Mertz's year to show he is a legit NFL prospect.

Jack Nelson OT: 

Jack Nelson

If Nelson played at any other school, he'd probably be considered a potential first-round pick for the 2023 draft. Due to Wisconsin's talent along the offensive line, Nelson was limited to playing right guard in his second season with the Badgers. He projects to kick to left tackle, which is his natural position this fall. Nelson has the athleticism, foot quickness and size to be a blindside protector at the next level. At guard, Nelson was fantastic in pass protection, which should translate to left tackle. If there is a riser in this year's class at tackle, it will be Nelson.

Joe Tippmann C: 

Joe Tippmann

Right now, Tippmann is one of the best centers in the nation, and he still has a lot of room to grow. Last season Tippmann was a full-time starter and looked like an NFL player from week one on. Tippmann does a great job anchoring and moving defenders at the point of attack for a bigger center. He was rarely off balance and always looked to be in total control. Tippmann's football IQ also stood out, as he consistently recognized stunts and twists. If Tippmann declares, he'll be a day one starter for an NFL team next year.

Other Players to Keep an Eye On:

  1. Logan Brown OT: The main thing keeping Brown from being one of the top tackles in next year's draft is experience. However, Brown has flashed the ability to be a starting tackle at the next level whenever he has played. This will be a big year for Brown in helping his draft stock.
  2. Tanor Bortolini OG: A phenomenal performance against Arizona State in the bowl game makes Bortolini a name to know. He will most likely start next season, allowing him to show evaluators he can be a dominant player consistently. Bortolini is probably a 2024 prospect but he is a really talented player.

Down the Line Prospect to Watch:

  1. Braelon Allen RB: The Badgers' best offensive weapon, Allen, is next in line at the running back position. He has the size of a linebacker but has good enough speed to be a force coming downhill. Allen progressed dramatically as the season went on, and he'll be in contention to be the first running back selected in the 2024 draft.

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