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Badgers in the 2018 NFL Draft: Where could they go?

Who is going where for Badgers in the 2018 NFL Draft? Let’s take a look at expected rounds and when you should be paying attention this year.

Thursday starts the beginning of just about every American male’s dream — playing in the NFL — for hundreds of people. For former Wisconsin Badgers it also marks the most anxious three days of their lives.

But, for Badgers fans, it is also one last chance to celebrate players who gave so much for “The Motion W” and the university as a whole.

The only question really left is when will the wait end for this group of players? Some may not have to wait long, others will have to wait the whole thing out and still others may see their dreams come in the form of free agency.

With that in mind, here is our primer on Badgers in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Nick Nelson

Bleacher Report: 5th round (No. 151 – Cincinnati Bengals)
CBS Sports: 5th round (No. 150 – Cleveland Browns)
Draft Site: 4th round (No. 135 – Los Angeles Rams)
Walter Football: 3rd round (No. 96 – Buffalo Bills)
NFL.com: 6th round (No. 195 – Los Angeles Rams)

Our Projection: 3rd to 4th round

An untimely knee injury could be the biggest issue facing Nelson. He was having a spectacular lead up to the 2018 NFL Draft, impressing with his numbers and interviews at the combine and during UW’s Pro Day. Unfortunately, his in-person workouts resulted in a minor knee injury that held him out of more workouts. Some people believe he’s put enough on film to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. But, we all know that any injury can scare teams away. He’s got the talent to be a quality NFL player to say the least. If you’re going to be on Badgers watch, Nelson is the name I would be banking on to be the first one called — somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round range — knee injury and all.

Troy Fumagalli

Bleacher Report: 6th round (No. 216 – Oakland Raiders)
CBS Sports: 7th round (No. 223 – San Francisco 49ers)
Draft Site: 3rd round (No. 99 – Denver Broncos) 
Walter Football: 5th round (No. 171 – Dallas Cowboys)
NFL.com: 4th round (No. 103 – Houston Texans)

Our Projection: 4th to 5th round

Let’s just say there’s no consensus around Fumagalli’s draft prospects…at least amongst those who mock out these sorts of things. It will be interesting to see where he goes, because arguably he’s the most productive tight end in this class not named Mike Gesicki, but some clearly aren’t valuing production and are devaluing Fums because of his testing at the combine and elsewhere. He is a classic gamer and letting him slip beyond the 4th round would mean great value for someone later. I can’t see Fumagalli slipping beyond the 5th round at the latest, it just doesn’t make sense.

Jack Cichy

Bleacher Report: 6th round (No. 206 – Philadelphia Eagles)
CBS Sports: 4th round (No. 124 – Green Bay Packers)
Draft Site: Undrafted
Walter Football: 6th round (No. 204 – Minnesota Vikings)
NFL.com: 4th round (No. 101 – Green Bay Packers)

Our Projection: 4th to 6th round

No team in the NFL knows Jack Cichy better than the Green Bay Packers do, and that could be to their advantage in evaluating a player most teams haven’t seen in person or knew about prior to his entrance in the draft this season. That should give Green Bay plenty to go off of. If they pass on him, it may not be until the 6th or 7th round we see his name called. This pick should be fun to watch happen.

Natrell Jamerson

Bleacher Report: Undrafted
CBS Sports: 7th round (No. 248 – Seattle Seahawks)
Draft Site: Undrafted
Walter Football: 5th round (No. 168 – Seattle Seahawks)
NFL.com: 6th round (No. 218 – Minnesota Vikings)

Our Projection: 6th round – Free Agent

Perhaps no player is a bigger mystery in the draft for the Badgers than Jamerson. The former wide receiver turned cornerback turned safety is one of the more physically gifted in his class. But, is also still a very raw prospect at safety. Raw and gifted? Sounds about right for a late-round selection. If you’re looking for Jamerson’s name to be called, paying attention starting in the 5th round makes a lot of sense. Apparently so does watching the Seattle Seahawks via these mock drafts. That said, anywhere from the 6th round to Free Agency wouldn’t be a surprise for Jamerson. Getting picked prior to that would be a major win for his status amongst NFL GM’s and scouting departments, that’s for sure.

Garrett Dooley

Bleacher Report: Undrafted
CBS Sports: Undrafted
Draft Site: Undrafted
Walter Football: Undrafted
NFL.com: Undrafted

Our Prediction: Undrafted Free Agent

There’s a clear consensus as to where Dooley fits in to this draft class. He was a quality player for the Badgers, but could be a dime-a-dozen player at the next level. I fully expect him to get to a training camp this fall to compete, but it’s going to be hard to see him sticking at the next level.

Leon Jacobs

Bleacher Report: 5th round (No. 152 – Arizona Cardinals)
CBS Sports: 5th round (No. 167 – New York Jets)
Draft Site: Undrafted
Walter Football: 6th round (No. 191 – Los Angeles Chargers)
NFL.com: 5th round (No. 169 – Philadelphia Eagles)

Our Prediction: 6th round-Free Agent

Jacobs played just one season as a starter at outside linebacker and became a force on the edge. He is perhaps one of the strongest players at the position in the draft class, but he also isn’t the fastest and didn’t show off a ton of edge rushing ability this past season either (just 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss). Jacobs screams “tweener” at the NFL level and it may be a team looking at his overall talent level more than his production that may take a chance on him over the weekend. Don’t be surprised to see Jacobs land higher or lower, because these mock drafts are usually never as accurate as what personnel departments actually think…especially in the later rounds.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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