The 2014 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means it's time to take a look at the former Badger football players who are hoping to hear their names called sometime between May 8 and 10.
So far I've profiled Chris Borland and Jared Abbrederis, both of whom can reasonably expect to be drafted on the second day of the draft, and potentially on the first day in Borland's case. From here on out though the prospects are a little harder to slot.
Today I'll profile Ryan Groy, who is looking to become the 10th Wisconsin offensive lineman to be drafted since Joe Thomas was taken No. 3 overall in 2007 by the Cleveland Browns. If Groy is drafted the Badgers would have had eight future NFL linemen on their 2010 roster, so he's trying to follow some pretty big footsteps.
A product of Middleton, Wis., Groy signed with the Badgers as a three-star prospect in their 2009 recruiting class. He redshirted his first year on campus and earned playing time as soon as he was eligible in 2010, where he backed up John Moffitt at left guard and even played some fullback in goal-line sets. He started four games in 2011 but played in every game for the Badgers that year.
Groy started each of Wisconsin's final 27 games- at left guard, for the most part- and played in each of Wisconsin's 54 games during his four-year playing career. At the end of his senior season Groy was voted third-team All-America by the Associated Press, and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches.
Final stat line: 54 games played, 33 games started between left tackle, left guard, center and fullback.
Weight: 316 pounds
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 26 (6th among OGs)
Arm Length: 33.25 inches
Hands: 10.375 inches
40-Yard Dash: 5.19 seconds (4th among OGs)
Vertical Jump: 26.5 inches (6thth among OGs)
Unlike Borland and Abbrederis, Groy's measurables stack up pretty well for his position. The first thing that stands out is his overall athleticism. Groy ran a quarter of a second behind LSU's Trai Turner (who was the quickest in the 40-yards dash at 4.93 seconds) at the combine but outweighs him by six pounds, and Groy's overall frame is a good fit for an NFL offensive guard.
His athleticism shows up the most when he's pulling on run plays, which would be a good fit for a team that wants to run power plays. Groy was versatile enough to play three different offensive line positions for the Badgers during his career, which would give teams some emergency flexibility.
Groy's ceiling is lower than some other Wisconsin offensive linemen who have been drafted over the last few years. Scouts and other media reports list stiff hips as a concern for Groy, and he could be a little more physical in finishing off blocks. Groy's speed shows up more in running downhill than in side-to-side movement, but he tested well in the three-cone drill and in the shuttle at the scouting combine.
Three Potential Landing Spots
Miami, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay could all use extra help at guard in this draft.
John's final take:
Groy will have some work to do if the wants to match the level of success other former Wisconsin linemen have had in the NFL, but at the very least he could provide some versatile depth for a team in need of help in the trenches. NFL games are won and lost in the trenches, and teams could do a lost worse than picking up an athletic lineman like Groy late in the draft.
St. Louis has seven picks on the third day of the draft, including six picks between round six and round seven. With Zac Stacy emerging as a productive NFL running back and Sam Bradford needing some extra protection, the Rams could take Groy later on to give their depth a boost.
Sixth round to the St. Louis Rams, No. 188 overall.
John Veldhuis covers Wisconsin football, basketball and recruiting for BadgerBlitz.com on the Rivals.com network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnVeldhuis.