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OTE 2020: Wisconsin Roster Review

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Okay folks, first up to bat for review are the Wisconsin Badgers! If you need to get up to speed on what we’re doing, you can find our project announcement here and our ratings primer here.

Here is a full look at the Wisconsin roster referenced below. We’ll highlight the most notable changes in the article, but more subtle changes may be recommended without expanding upon them here:

Quarterbacks

These three are in the correct order but much closer in overall quality. Despite being #3 on the depth chart, Chase Wolf might have the biggest arm and most dangerous running ability of the bunch, but word from previous camps has been that decision-making has cost him in QB competitions. Regardless, he is way better than sub-70. Graham Mertz, the former HS All-American MVP, is speculated to be the best option on the roster but sits behind the veteran presence and steady decision maker in Jack Coan. But speculation is just that. Coan probably actually ranks 3rd on power here but with a very accurate arm. With these in mind, I submit the following changes with the intent of the depth chart remaining the same:

Jack Coan: Speed up to 74, Agility down to 88, Awareness up to 88, Throw Power down to 82, Throw Accuracy up to 86
Graham Mertz: Speed up to 72, Awareness up to 78, Throw Power up to 86
Chase Wolf: Speed up to 76, Awareness down to 65, Throw Power up to 88, Throw Accuracy down to 73

Running Backs

This group is tough to evaluate. I agree with these being bunched together, Jonathan Taylor did so much and we don’t quite know what to make of the RB room that returns. It stuck out to me that Garrett Groshek tied for alpha dog status. Groshek seems tailor-made for the 3rd down RB role and his Overall could be a result of his excellent blocking, but I don’t think anyone pictures him as a leading back on a strong running team. That said, there is/was a lot to figure out this season. Nakia Watson is the assumed #1 but hasn’t put it together on the field to warrant that yet. Julius Davis is a former 4* recruit that redshirted with injury, and incoming HS All-American Jalen Berger may already be the best of the bunch, but they need to prove that on the field before getting the ratings bumps that say it. Guerendo is an unknown as a converted WR but has good speed.

Garrett Groshek- Speed down to 84, Awareness down to 87, Elusiveness up to 78, Pass Block up to 75, Run Block down to 73
Nakia Watson- Agility down to 84, Acceleration up to 92, Awareness down to 74
Julius Davis- Speed down to 87, Agility down to 92, Acceleration down to 94
Jalen Berger- Speed up to 89, Elusiveness up to 82

Tight Ends

I included this group for three reasons. One, Jake Ferguson is worthy of this rating. His numbers may seem off from last season but he was asked to stay in to block SO. DAMN. MUCH. His usage as a blocker was insane for a mismatch receiver like him but unfortunately was necessary. Two, I don’t have strong feelings about the group after that besides that they are a notable drop from Ferguson. And three, incoming freshman Cam Large is supposed to be #2 tight end the moment he steps foot on campus but wasn’t included on the roster.

Jake Ferguson: Speed up to 83, Agility down to 88, Acceleration down to 92, Pass Block up to 80, Run Block up to 81
Cam Large: find space to add on roster when able.

Wide Receivers

This group suffers a lot from attrition, and the losses of Quintez Cephus, AJ Taylor, and even Aron Cruickshank as an ultra-quick jet sweep one-trick pony loom large. Danny Davis is around where he should be and Kendric Pryor seems low but in the right spot in the pecking order. Davis, Pryor, Adam Krumholz and Jack Dunn all seem varying degrees of low for catching. Wisconsin has been recruiting well the last couple years, but it’s all unproven/not-yet-on-campus talent and that’s hard to find upgrades for here.

Danny Davis: Agility down to 96, Acceleration down to 95, Awareness up to 85, Catching up to 85
Kendric Pryor: Agility up to 93, Acceleration up to 91, Catching up to 83
Adam Krumholz: Speed down to 86, Catching up to 81
Jack Dunn: Agility down to 94, Awareness up to 76, Catching up to 74
Taj Mustapha: Agility up to 88, Acceleration up to 85, Carrying up to 68

Offensive Line

Almost no issues with Cole Van Lanen being the top player on the roster or his rating, he’s a machine. Logan Brown is probably higher but he needs to at least practice to get more recognition. Jack Nelson is the real deal and I like where he sits right now as a great prospect that hasn’t played college yet. I think Kayden Lyles and Josh Seltzner got robbed a bit on ratings, they’re not All-Americans or anything but they should probably rank higher.

Cole Van Lanen: Awareness up to 92
Tyler Beach: Strength up to 84, Run Block up to 88
Logan Brown: Awareness up to 75
Jack Nelson: Awareness up to 73
Kayden Lyles: Pass Block up to 82, Run Block up to 84
Josh Seltzner: Pass Block up to 80, Run Block up to 81

Defensive Line

The most disrespected group. Loudermilk is fine. After that? Woof. Garrett Rand might be the strongest human alive and got 82 Strength. Wisconsin runs a 3-4 base (which throws an extra wrinkle into what to do for ratings) with 2 NFL caliber DTs in barely hitting 70 on here. Let’s get to work.

Garrett Rand: Strength up to 94, Power Move up to 84, Block Shedding up to 83
Isaiah Mullens: Awareness up to 79, Tackle up to 78, Power Move up to 73, Finesse Move up to 72, Block Shedding up to 75
Keeanu Benton: Agility up to 82, Acceleration up to 79, Tackle up to 79, Power Move up to 78, Finesse Move up to 73, Block Shedding up to 78
Bryson Williams: Tackle up to 77, Power Move up to 77, Finesse Move up to 74, Block Shedding up to 76

Linebackers

This group is interesting because some veterans are probably lower than they are while some highly-regarded freshmen are coming in a little higher than they’ve earned. Jack Sanborn feels a tad high but return as the team’s leading tackler and will indeed be a force. Noah Burks and Izayah Green-May are game-changers that were set to break out (even more, in Burks’ case) this season. I don’t think it’s fair for Nick Herbig or Kaden Johnson to be as high as they are right out of high school. Mike Maskalunas has limitations but is a savvier player than created here. And we must respect Leo Chenal’s STRENF.

Jack Sanborn: Acceleration up to 88, Tackle down to 92, Pursuit down to 91, Play Recognition up to 93
Noah Burks: Speed up to 84, Block Shedding up to 85, Pursuit up to 83, Play Recognition up to 80
Izayah Green-May: Speed up to 82, Awareness up to 85, Tackle up to 82, Pursuit up to 84
Nick Herbig: Strength down to 69, Agility down to 83, Acceleration down to 84, Play Recognition down to 68
Kaden Johnson: Speed down to 78, Agility down to 83, Acceleration down to 87, Play Recognition down to 69
Leo Chenal: Strength up to 84, Agility down to 92, Block Shedding up to 80, Play recognition up to 77
Mike Maskalunas: Agility down to 87, Awareness up to 85, Block Shedding up to 76, Play Recognition up to 82

Secondary

I don’t know why Eric Burrell is so high. He’s played well of late but I don’t see him as an all-star like this. Faion Hicks should probably be at the top of this list, and after that I don’t think this group should stand out much. Solid overall but susceptible to issues from better passing attacks.

Eric Burrell: Awareness down to 87, Tackle down to 80, Man Coverage down to 86, Zone coverage down to 87
Faion Hicks: Speed up to 89
Scott Nelson: Speed up to 84, Agility down to 89, Man Coverage up to 80, Zone Coverage up to 85

The kickers and punters are not known to be good on this team and are not good in this game. I don’t see need to change that much.

So there’s Wisconsin for you, let us know what changes you would make yourself, what moves we made that you agree/disagree with, and if anyone is missing that will be a key player.