Former Wisconsin Badgers are littered all over NFL rosters. Currently, 31 former Badgers are on either an active roster, injured reserve, PUP list or practice squad of an NFL team. From some of the best players in the game to those just looking for a shot, here's a capsule summary of every ex-Wisconsin player in the league.
Beau Allen, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A seventh-round pick of Philadelphia in 2014, Allen is now playing in his sixth NFL season and second with Tampa Bay. Allen had 20 tackles in his first year with the Bucs and then reworked his contract in the offseason, taking a $1 million pay cut but guaranteeing his entire salary, thus ensuring him a roster spot. In Tampa’s revamped 3-4 defense, Allen is the backup nose tackle.
Beau Benzschawel, OG, Detroit Lions
After making 49 starts at Wisconsin, Benzschawel surprisingly went undrafted and signed with Detroit. On the roster bubble, Benzschawel won a roster spot as the Lions’ ninth offensive lineman. He’s listed as the third-string right guard on the team’s depth chart.
Vince Biegel, LB, Miami Dolphins
The former Green Bay draft pick played in 14 games for the Saints in 2018 after beginning the year on the practice squad. Playing mainly on special teams, Biegel recorded four tackles. A day after making New Orleans’ 53-man roster, Biegel was traded to Miami, where perhaps he’ll get a chance to fill a bigger role.
Jack Cichy, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After missing his senior season in 2017 due to a torn ACL, Cichy suffered the same fate midway through his rookie season. Despite playing in only six games, he still tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with three. Clearly on the roster bubble as he tried to come back from the injury, Cichy won a spot on the 53-man roster, but is one of six inside linebackers and listed on the third team.
Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
An undrafted free agent in 2017, Clement was one of Philadelphia’s Super Bowl heroes that season. However, he never seemed healthy in 2018 and his season ended after 11 games following a knee injury. He rushed for 259 yards, but just 3.8 per carry, and caught 22 passes for 192 yards Sidelined most of training camp, Clement got into the Eagles’ third preseason game and showed he was healthy. He’s one of four running backs on Philly’s roster and is listed as the team’s backup kick returner.
Ryan Connelly, LB, New York Giants
The former walk-on was selected in the fifth round by the Giants and quickly impressed the staff. Due to injuries to other inside linebackers, Connelly got some work with the first team during training camp and the preseason and showed he could be a future starter. As it stands, Connelly opens 2019 listed as the Giants’ backup at strongside inside backer.
Michael Deiter, OL, Miami Dolphins
Deiter was the highest-drafted Badgers player in 2019, selected in the third round by Miami. Deiter played in and started 54 games at Wisconsin, appearing at left tackle, left guard and center. Deiter had been listed as the Dolphins’ starting left guard, but Miami acquired some veteran guards on cutdown day.
D’Cota Dixon, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not only was Dixon not drafted, but also he went unsigned as teams gobbled up free agents. Dixon got a tryout with his home state Bucs, who eventually signed him to their 90-man training camp roster. Dixon quickly impressed and moved up the depth chart, at one point, although unofficial, listed on the second team. However, Dixon was placed on injured reserve, meaning his rookie season is over (a player can’t be activated from IR unless he’s placed there after making the 53-man roster).
David Edwards, OT, Los Angeles Rams
At one time thought of as a potential first-round pick by draft pundits, Edwards wasn’t selected until the fifth round, which is not a spot which guarantees being on a roster. But Edwards was sat down for Los Angeles’ final preseason game, which was a good sign he made the 53, which he did. Edwards, who primarily played right tackle at Wisconsin, is listed as the Rams’ backup left tackle.
T.J. Edwards, LB, Philadelphia Eagles
A playmaker at Wisconsin, recording 367 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss and 10 interceptions in 53 games, Edwards went undrafted after some substandard testing, including a slow 40 time. Signed by Philadelphia, he kept improving as camp went on and recorded 18 tackles combined in the Eagles’ final two preseason games. He held off some competition and was one of six linebackers to make the team. Edwards is listed as the backup middle linebacker.
Alex Erickson, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
The former undrafted free agent begins his fourth season as Cincinnati’s primary kick returner. Last season he finished fifth in the NFL in kick return average (26.2) and eighth in punt return average (10.6). Down on the depth chart of wide receivers, Erickson set career highs in catches (20) and receiving yards (167) last year. He’s expected to be in the same roles in 2019.
Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys
Frederick missed the entire 2018 season after being diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome weeks. He’s back healthy in 2019 and once again Dallas’ starting center. Before last year, Frederick started every game in his first five years with the Cowboys and had been selected to four straight Pro Bowls.
Troy Fumagalli, TE, Denver Broncos
A fifth-round pick of Denver in 2018, Fumagalli was injured throughout OTAs, training camp and preseason due to lingering effects of a sports hernia. He was placed on injured reserve before the start of the season. On the bubble in 2019, Fumagalli earned a spot as one of Denver’s four tight ends. He even played some H-back during the preseason.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Gordon averaged a career-high 5.1 yards per carry last season, gaining 885 yards while playing in 12 games. He also had 50 receptions for 490 yards and had a combined 14 touchdowns (10 rush, 4 receiving). Entering the final year of his contract, Gordon wanted a new deal and never reported to training camp. The Chargers made it clear they won’t be renegotiating, although Gordon’s camp can try and find a trade partner.
Rob Havenstein, OT, Los Angeles Rams
The former second-round pick is entering his fifth year with the Rams, all as a starter. He had his best season since his rookie year in 2018, allowing just two sacks and committing only one penalty in 19 games, including three playoff games as Los Angeles went to the Super Bowl.
Alec Ingold, FB, Oakland Raiders
A touchdown machine at Wisconsin (21 combined TDs on 65 touches), Ingold went undrafted but signed with Oakland, whose head coach, Jon Gruden, coached Ingold at the Senior Bowl. Ingold beat out veteran Kevin Smith to earn the lone fullback spot on the Raiders.
Leon Jacobs, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
A seventh-round pick in 2018, Jacobs played in 12 games – with three starts -- as a rookie, recording 21 tackles and a safety. On Jacksonville’s unofficial depth chart, Jacobs is listed as the team’s starting strongside linebacker in its 4-3 defense.
Natrell Jamerson, S, Carolina Panthers
A fifth-round pick in 2018, Jamerson is already in his fourth organization. Drafted by New Orleans, which moved him from safety to cornerback, Jamerson was released at the cutdown date and claimed by Houston, which used him at safety. Jamerson played 10 games with the Texans, recording seven tackles with a pass defensed, before being waived. Green Bay picked him up and he played in two games for the Packers, notching three tackles. Once again let go at the cutdown date, Jamerson was claimed by Carolina, where he’ll likely be a backup and special teams contributor.
Lance Kendricks, TE, New England Patriots
Kendricks’ return to Wisconsin lasted just two years as Green Bay let him walk in free agency, where he signed with New England. In his eighth year in the NFL, Kendricks had 19 receptions for a career-low 170 yards and a touchdown in 2018. Kendricks was suspended for the first game of the season for violating the league's policy on substance abuse.
Nick Nelson, CB, Oakland Raiders
Nelson played just one year at Wisconsin (sitting out a year as well after transferring from Hawaii), electing to enter the NFL draft after his junior season. Selected in the fourth round, he was hampered by injuries and didn’t play until Week 8. Nelson would play in 10 games, recording 20 tackles and a pass defensed. After a subpar training camp and preseason, Nelson was cut by the Raiders but re-signed to the team’s practice squad.
Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ogunbowale is still awaiting his first NFL carry, but he might finally be in a good position to get it. An undrafted free agent in 2017, Ogunbowale spent time on the practice squads of Houston and Tampa Bay before landing with Washington, where he eventually appeared in two games. Last year, he was with the Bucs’ practice squad and was called up to the active roster for two games. Ogunbowale was impressive in training camp and the preseason, running, catching and blocking, and made the 53-man roster as Tampa’s third back under new head coach Bruce Arians.
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Ryan Ramczyk, OT, New Orleans Saints
The former first-round pick has been a starter since entering the NFL in 2017. Last year he was named an AP All-Pro at right tackle, although he did allow four sacks in the regular season, twice the amount he gave up as a rookie. He did not allow a sack in two playoff games. Ramzcyk is slated to start at right tackle again for the Saints in 2019.
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Joe Schobert, LB, Cleveland Browns
The fourth-round pick in 2016 continues to be a tackling machine. Moved into the starting lineup in 2017, Schobert had a league-high 144 tackles and went to the Pro Bowl. Last season, playing in 13 games, he had 103 tackles, three sacks, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an interception. Schobert will once again be Cleveland’s starting MIKE linebacker.
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Andrew Van Ginkel, LB, Miami Dolphins
After two years at Wisconsin where he played 27 games (10 starts) and had 99 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions, Van Ginkel was drafted in the fifth round by Miami. Van Ginkel was banged up in training camp and only played in the Dolphins’ first preseason game, but he made the team and is listed as one of Miami’s backup outside linebackers.
Rick Wagner, OT, Detroit Lions
Wagner earned a big contract with Detroit after four solid years with Baltimore, but he’s struggled in his two years with the Lions. He allowed six sacks in 13 games in 2017 and 5.5 sacks in 15 games last season. Regardless, Wagner will once again anchor the right tackle position in 2019.
Derek Watt, FB, Los Angeles Chargers
For the fourth straight year, after being taken in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, Watt is the Chargers’ fullback. However, Watt is used more on special teams than on offense, although last year he was in on a career-high 146 offensive snaps and a career-low 221 special teams snaps. Watt has yet to miss a game in his three seasons.
J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
After missing the majority of both the 2016 and ’17 seasons due to injury, Watt played in all 16 games for the Texans last year. He wasn’t quite the same player as when he was terrorizing offensives from 2012-15, and winning AP Defensive Player of the Year three times, but still finished with 16 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. With Jadeveon Clowney no longer on the team, meaning perhaps more double teams, it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers the now 30-year-old Watt can put up in 2019.
T.J. Watt, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The former first-round pick is making a name for himself in Pittsburgh. After recording seven sacks and 10 TFL as a rookie, Watt followed that up in 2018 with 13 sacks, 12 TFL and six forced fumbles. Watt was selected to the Pro Bowl and is once again expected to put up big numbers and be a big part of the Steelers’ defense.
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James White, RB, New England Patriots
Always a receiving threat out of the backfield, White had more carries (94) than catches (87) for the first time since his rookie year, when he played just three games (9 carries, 5 receptions), although both were career highs. White accounted for over 1,000 yards of offense (425 rushing, 751 receiving) and totaled 12 touchdowns (5 rushing, 7 receiving). He’s had at least 40 catches and three receiving TDs in each of the last four seasons. Sony Michel is expected once again to get the brunt of the carries for New England, but White will also be a big part of the offense, whether running or receiving.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
If you weren’t sure Wilson was Seattle’s quarterback of the future (and present), he was given a huge contract extension this offseason, including a $65 million signing bonus. Entering his eighth season as the Seahawks quarterback, Wilson has never missed a game. Seattle has won at least 10 games in six of those seven seasons and nine in the other. Wilson is still mobile, although he ran a career-low 67 times in 2018 (for 376 yards) and for the first time in his career didn’t have a rushing TD. He completed 65.6% of his passes for 3,448 yards with 35 TDs and seven interceptions. Over his career, Wilson has 25,624 passing yards, 196 TDs and a 100.3 QB rating. Not bad for a third-round pick.
Kevin Zeitler, OG, New York Giants
Zeitler was dealt to the Giants for Olivier Vernon in March, just two years and two days after signing a five-year contract as a free agent with Cleveland. Zeitler has played in all 16 games in each of the past four seasons with the Browns and Cincinnati, allowing just six sacks in that span with no more than two in a year, including 2018. Zeitler did commit a career-high six penalties last year, including three false starts and two holdings. Entering his eighth season, Zeitler is set to once again play right guard on a revamped New York offensive line.