In Wisconsin they produce offensive linemen like they produce cheese. Former Badger Joe Thomas is a franchise LT for the Cleveland Browns, and three Badgers alums play tight end in the NFL (Travis Beckum, Lance Kendricks and Garrett Graham)
Even though they lost Gabe Carimi (now with Chicago Bears) and John Moffitt (Seattle Seahawks) on the left side, not to mention a backup lineman Bill Nagy (Dallas Cowboys) and their tight end the Badgers breed the big boys up front like the show Family Guy breeds ’80s jokes. They’re a NFL OL factory in Madison.
And the next batch includes OT Ricky Wagner, G Kevin Zeitler, and C Peter Konz. The big boys have provided plenty of running lanes and open space this season.
Konz is a redshirt junior from Neenah, Wisconsin who might declare early. Center prospects are hard to figure since they don’t often get drafted very high, but Konz could play another position in the NFL.
The Badgers had lost two straight (which happens very rarely during the Bret Bielema era) entering the home contest versus Purdue. They won 62-17.
“It’s very important in terms of confidence. You’re saying to yourself, ‘Ok, you’ve lost two really close games. How are we going to be in this next game? Are we going to be dominant, are we going to be slow?’ You don’t really know and you start to question your abilities. Seeing the way we handled that, it’ll carry through in the rest of the season,” Konz said.
“I don’t play angry, I try to play smart,” Konz told the media following the game
Walter Football has Konz mocked at #27 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of their 2012 mock draft.
Zeitler is rated among the top 5 guards in the 2012 class. The senior from Waukesha, WI goes 6-4, 315. He was also tired of losing after the two game slide and talked about how emotion propelled his unit and team to a blowout victory this week:
“Overall, there was a fire under our belly, we were angry all week, it was rough everyone dissing us, and it was time to get things back on track,” he said.
Zeitler figures to be a 2-4 round prospect and his considered a tremendous talent. He’s leaner and meaner than many o-linemen. Often you see some chub sticking out when it comes to the big guys up front, you don’t see any of that with Zeitler.
Coming out of high school, he was ranked the third-best player in Wisconsin and No. 39 offensive lineman in the nation by Rivals.com, fourth-best player in the state and 22nd-best offensive lineman in the nation by Scout.com
Wagner, like the other two prospects previously mentioned, is also home grown in Wisconsin. Hailing from West Allis, the 6-6, 320 pound behemoth was an all Big Ten honorable mention pick last year.
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the FWAA, USBWA and SPJ. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.