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Former Badgers ready to try their luck in NFL

first_imgKelsey Fenton / The Badger HeraldTravis Frederick perfectly fits the mold of a Wisconsin offensive line product. At 6-foot-4 and 338 pounds, he is the type of burly blocker who bulldozes opponents instead of relying on quick feet to dance in the trenches with an oncoming pass rusher.The top-rated center in this year’s draft, Frederick also collected 13 starts at left guard for UW and could see time at either spot, depending on the needs of whatever NFL roster he lands on. He anchored the Badgers’ line in 2012, starting all 14 games at center, earning a spot on the first team all-Big Ten squad and proving himself a valuable source of stability during last year’s quarterback carousel.Scouts point out that Frederick, who skipped his final year of eligibility, may not have the athleticism to keep up with the speedy, physically gifted defensive tackles and linebackers he will duel at the next level. The Sharon native only hurt his stock at February’s combine when he managed only 21 bench press reps and ran a remarkably slow 5.58 second 40-yard dash. Helping to make up for that is his physical strength and the pedigree of coming from a program that churns out Grade A NFL-ready linemen annually.The massive, unkempt bushel of hair cloaking the better part of Frederick’s face speaks to his style: he’s the grungy, old-school power run-blocker consuming a wide swath of space in the middle. On the right team – one that doesn’t count on him to regularly pull and block downfield – he could be a serviceable starter as a rookie.Verdict: Frederick should expect to hear his name called in the later half of the second round or early in the third round.By Ian McCueMarcus Cromartie may not have been the most recognizable of Badgers to play at Camp Randall this season. He didn’t easily stand out among the cornerbacks at Wisconsin. He therefore definitely struggled to stand out among the Wisconsin defense. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a shot at playing in the NFL, though.The 6-foot-1 cornerback is looking to carry on the family list of defensive backs that includes his brother Antonio Cromartie and cousin Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – both Pro Bowlers in their veteran careers.The family genes have treated him well to this point, and his performance at the Wisconsin Pro Day will likely treat him the finishing touches as he is projected to be drafted by the time the draft finishes Saturday.After not being invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis – a sign many take as an obvious sign of lacking draft prospects – Cromartie showed his talents well at the pro day, running a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, the best time by any Badger that day. He matched it with 14 reps on the 225-pound bench press and a vertical jump of 34 inches.His 40-yard run is a big reason why Cromartie has crept into NFL draft relevancy since March 6. He is ranked 30th by nfldraftscout.com among the 218 corners entering the draft – 20 places higher than former teammate and fellow draft hopeful Devin Smith. Smith was the Badgers’ top corner on the depth chart and even bested Cromartie in the end of season conference awards, but with an emphasis on speed in the position, Cromartie’s time has separated him.But his fate still remains in question. The draft-scouting website rated Cromartie the 233rd-best prospect, which will place him on the fence since only 224 players will be drafted. He may end up being less recognized after all.By Sean Zaklast_img read more

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