The University of Wisconsin football team had several former players get their name called during the 2020 NFL Draft, headlined by running back Jonathan Taylor and linebacker Zack Baun.
Entering the draft, some draft projections — including our own — had Taylor and/or Baun going Thursday night during the first round of the draft. Instead, no Badgers found themselves taken until early in the second round when Taylor was taken with the 41st overall pick (second round, pick No. 9) by the Indianapolis Colts.
Taylor, who showed off impressive speed and strength throughout three years with Wisconsin, seems to be a nice fit for the Colts, who already have running back Marlon Mack. The Colts surpassed 2,000 yards on the ground last year, good enough for seventh in the league. The most likely scenario is for the Colts to develop Taylor alongside Mack for a year before potentially handing Taylor the reins in 2021.
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Baun, who fell all the way to the third round, was taken with the 74th overall pick (third round, pick No. 10) by the New Orleans Saints. Since the Saints did not possess a second-round pick, they jumped at the opportunity to draft Baun in the third round, trading the 88th overall pick and a 2021 third-round pick to the Browns for the 74th overall pick.
The Saints were known to be looking for linebacker help in the draft, so after selecting Michigan center Cesar Ruiz in the first round, it was not surprising to hear Baun’s name being called during the third round. Baun will likely get some reps during his rookie season playing alongside veterans like Demario Davis and Kiko Alonso in New Orleans.
Following Baun, the next Badger drafted was offensive lineman Tyler Biadasz, who went to the Dallas Cowboys with the 146th overall pick (fourth round, pick No. 40). Biadasz will seemingly slot in as the replacement for fellow former Badger Travis Frederick, who retired this offseason. With the departure of Frederick, Biadasz — who played at various positions along the offensive line during his Badger career — will likely start at center in 2020.
The final Badger taken during the NFL Draft was wide receiver Quintez Cephus, who went to the Detroit Lions with the 166th overall pick (fifth round, pick No. 21). Cephus, who ran into character troubles during his career with the Badgers, was one of the better late-draft options at the receiver position in what was a deep wide receiver draft class. Cephus will likely get some looks during the 2020 season and may step into a larger role behind Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola in Detroit.
While several Badgers did not get their names called, a few will likely get a chance during training camp and the preseason this summer. This list includes linebacker Chris Orr and offensive lineman Jason Erdmann. Orr tweeted less than an hour after the conclusion of the draft, alluding to a contract with the Carolina Panthers, whose team motto is “Keep Pounding.”
With the 2020 NFL Draft in the books and several Badgers on their way to the NFL, follow the 2020 NFL season to keep an eye on former Badgers around the league.