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Nelson leads 5 Badgers picked the 2018 NFL Draft

Wisconsin saw 5 players taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, but had to wait all the way to day three for anyone to be selected.

After months of speculation, rumor and mock drafts, the NFL Draft finally got here on Thursday night. For former Wisconsin Badgers players, it was a long wait, but a wait well worth it.

It took until day three of the draft for any Badgers names to come off the board, but in the end five UW players saw their names called.

Leading that contingent was Nick Nelson, who went No. 110 overall and in the 4th round to the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders.

Nelson played just one season in a Badgers uniform after transferring from Hawaii, but it was a productive season. He had 35 total tackles and 21 passes defensed, but he went his entire three-year college career without a single interception. His stock was rising heading out of the combine, but a meniscus tear during workouts for NFL teams may have pushed him down the draft further than he would’ve gone otherwise.

Badgers fans would have to wait another round to hear the second name off the board and that was tight end Troy Fumagalli, who went to the Denver Broncos with pick No. 156 overall (19th in the 5th round).

Fumagalli was a 2016 1st team All-American, putting up 47 receptions for 580 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He followed that up with 46 catches for 547 yards and three touchdowns in his senior season.

Up next to hear his name called was safety Natrell Jamerson, picked No. 164 overall to the New Orleans Saints.

His stock rose as he tested off the charts during the combine and workouts with teams, but also hasn’t played a lot of defensive back in his football career. Jamerson came to Wisconsin as a wide receiver and transitioned first to cornerback, but flourished as a safety in his one season as a starter. He put up 51 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, while also picking off two balls (returning one for a TD) and having 10 passes defensed.

After missing the better part of the last 18 months of football, a potential-laden Jack Cichy saw his name called in the sixth round at No. 202. He will be going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after posting huge numbers in 2016 prior to an injury. He had 60 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in just seven games played. The previous season, Cichy had the same 60 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks in 12 games played.

The final Badger off the board on Saturday was linebacker Leon Jacobs, who went No. 230 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. His UW career was one of finding a place for him, finally getting a chance as a starting outside linebacker in 2017 and he made the most of that. Jacobs finished 2017 with 60 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He’ll be a project at the next level as teams try to figure out the best use for him, but he has clearly put a lot of power and athleticism on film.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for names like Garrett Dooley, Derrick Tindal and Austin Ramesh as potential undrafted free agents in the next day or two as teams scramble to prioritize and sign those players to contracts.

UPDATE: Here is a look at the Badgers who have announced free agent contracts so far…

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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