The University of Wisconsin has cranked outs its share of NFL draft prospects over the years. Russell Wilson. Montee Ball. Joe Thomas. J.J. Watt. Peter Konz. And, yes, Racine’s own Chris Maragos, to name a few.
In all, 31 Badgers were on NFL rosters last season. Three — Watt, Wilson and Thomas — were Pro Bowl selections.
Look for more Badgers to be collecting a check from the NFL next season. Inside linebacker Chris Borland is projected to go in late in the first round or early in the second round. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is expected to go in the third round. Nose tackle Beau Allen is slotted as a fourth-rounder by several teams. And don’t forget safety Dez Southward, whose stock is rising by the minute.
The question now is whether Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson will expend any of his nine picks during the May 8-10 draft on any of them. History says unequivocally no.
This will be Thompson’s 10th draft as Packers GM and in his previous nine he didn’t select one Badger. Zero. My suggestion to Mr. Thompson is it’s time to end that drought and consider choosing Borland with the team’s first selection, No. 21 overall.
Yes, the Packers have more pressing needs, most notably at tight end and safety. But if the draft board is devoid of a quality player at either of those positions, Thompson should tab Borland, who is a certifiable tackling machine and who would most assuredly upgrade the Packers’ porous inside linebacking corps.
Who was the last University of Wisconsin player drafted by the Packers and in what year and round was he chosen? Answer below.
Another intriguing candidate
There is a belief among some NFL observers the Packers will use their No. 1 pick on Calvin Pryor, a talented all-around safety from Louisville. The Packers may have their eyes on another safety as well.
Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois, who was born in Racine and lived here for several years before moving to Birmingham, Ala., is drawing keen scrutiny from the Packers and a host of other teams. In fact, every NFC North team — Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit — has brought him to their respective cities in recent weeks for up-close-and-personal interviews.
Madden goes beyond call of duty
If you ever watched Sean Madden carry the football for the St. Catherine’s High School in recent years, you knew one thing: He’d never settle. After absorbing a hit, the determined Madden would still keep his legs churning, hoping to pick up additional yards.
So, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn Madden wasn’t about to settle and raise the minimum of $500 that’s required of participants for the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star Game July 19 at UW-Oshkosh.
Instead, Madden has already raised more than $5,000 and hopes to reach his goal of $6,000 by Saturday’s deadline. Money raised for the event will go to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
“I wanted to raise more money than I needed to because it’s for a great cause,” Madden said. “I want to give as much as I possibly can.”
For those interested in helping Madden reach his goal, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/sean-madden-1/2014-wfca-all-star-football-game
Boston Marathon is special for Racine native
Many poignant stories came out of this year’s Boston Marathon, including one pertaining to Kim Meader of Gloucester, Mass.
Meader, a 1970 graduate of Horlick High School who recently retired after 35 years in the banking industry, made the Boston Marathon his first-ever marathon.
“I always wanted to run a marathon,” said Meader, who grew up in Racine and was a defensive end on the Horlick football team. “So, when I retired in December, I thought this would be a good transition from work to retirement.”
But there were two other much more important reasons the 61-year-old Meader wanted to participate in the Boston Marathon. One, he wanted to honor his son, Anders, who died Aug. 10, 2010 at the age of 27 of a heart attack, and two, he wanted to help raise money for Massachusetts General Hospital’s children’s cancer research.
Through his running efforts, Meader raised $6,400 in contributions and hopes to raise $10,000 by the middle of June. If he falls short of his goal, Meader said a friend has pledged to contribute the remaining amount.
“This was a special marathon, especially after what happened last year,” Meader said, referring to two bomb explosions that killed three people and injured more than 200 others near the finish line. “People were lined up three or four deep almost the whole race, supporting us and encouraging us.
“It was just a great day.”
One that was made even greater by people like Meader.
The last Wisconsin Badger to be drafted by the Packers was guard Bill Ferrario, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2001 draft.
Gery Woelfel is a sports reporter for The Journal Times. Gery can be reached by calling 262-631-1713 or by email at email@example.com