20 RB James White (5’10” 198 pounds, SENIOR)
Since James White stepped on campus for the Wisconsin Badgers, he’s been a playmaker. The 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and first-team Freshman All-American has regressed statistically the last two seasons after rushing for 1,052 yards as a rookie, but is ready for a much bigger role in his senior season with the Badgers.
White is an explosive back who isn’t the biggest, but he certainly knows how to run around guys. He has excellent burst and vision, and like Montee Ball before him is an ideal fit as a one-cut back in a zone scheme. White also has great potential as a receiver that has yet to be unleashed because of the insane depth at RB the Badgers have had the last few seasons.
This is a big play threat who ran for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and he could be in line for a huge increase in carries in 2013. White has a career average of 6.1 yards per carry through the first three years of his career, and I can’t wait to see what he does as Wisconsin’s featured back.
4 WR Jared Abbrederis (6’2″ 188 pounds, SENIOR)
Jared Abbrederis is a gamer, and a guy who has been making big plays for Wisconsin ever since he was a freshman. This is a guy who knows hard work. He started out his career with the Badgers as a walk-on scout team quarterback who mimicked other dual-threat QBs the team would face. He didn’t even earn a scholarship until January of 2012. That means the year that Russell Wilson played with Wisconsin when Abbrederis had 55 catches for 933 yards and eight touchdowns, he wasn’t even on scholarship! Incredible.
Despite not being offered a scholarship until before his junior season, Abbrederis is a heck of a playmaker who can be used in a variety of ways. The Badgers use him as a receiver, returner, as well as a runner out of the backfield, and he has great vision with the ball in his hands. His stats took a dip as a junior because of the huge difference between Russell Wilson and whomever was taking snaps for the Badgers last year, but he still made a lot of big plays. For his career, he averages 16.6 yards per reception, the active leading number among returning receivers.
I think Abbrederis has the potential to be a really solid wideout at the NFL level. He works hard, has good length, and can make plays in a variety of ways. Since becoming a starter for the Badgers, he’s averaged over 17 yards per catch. This is a player I’m really looking forward to seeing in the NFL in 2014. He might not be a high pick, but he will scratch and claw his way to playing time early in his career.
48 TE Jacob Pedersen (6’4″ 241 pounds, SENIOR)
Entering his final season with the Badgers, Pedersen is a Mackey Award watch list candidate who is a touchdown machine. He doesn’t have a ton of catches or yards in his Badger career, but has 12 touchdowns the last two seasons and 14 for his collegiate career. NFL scouts think he can be a move TE at the next level, and play some H-back as well. He doesn’t have great bulk for the position, but he can be a mismatch in the red zone and knows how to get the ball across the goal line. This is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on going forward, but he is going to have to blow people away at workouts to warrant more than a mid-round grade despite his collegiate accomplishments.
44 LB Chris Borland (5’11” 245 pounds, SENIOR)
Chris Borland is one of the most impressive playmakers at the linebacker position in the country right now. He might be only 5’11” but he is a workout warrior and it has translated to the football field. Borland has 13 career forced fumbles, just one off of Ryan Kerrigan’s Big Ten and FBS record of 14, and has racked up 308 total tackles, 41.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks in his Wisconsin career. As hard of a worker as this guy is off the field, it’s no question he’s in position to be one of the first middle linebackers off the board come time for the 2013 NFL Draft, but it will be hard for him to crack the first round with his height, sadly. If Borland lasts to the second or third round, I think he’ll be a steal and a plug and play starter from the beginning of his NFL career.
Other Prospects to Watch in 2013
12 SS Dezmen Southward (6’2″ 213 pounds, SENIOR)
36 LB Ethan Armstrong (6’2″ 232 pounds, SENIOR)