The 2017 NFL Draft is officially over, but a handful of Badgers are still in need of an NFL home.
Last season’s Wisconsin undrafted free agent crop saw the likes of Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy latch on with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, respectively. McEvoy even scored a touchdown in the 2016 season when he switched teams to the Seattle Seahawks.
While three talented Wisconsin players came off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft – linebackers T.J. Watt, Vince Biegel and offensive tackle Ryan Ramcyzk – three others went the length of the draft without hearing their names called. Those three players were senior running backs Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale, and senior defensive back Sojourn Shelton.
Here’s where those three Badgers players signed their first NFL contracts..
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) April 29, 2017
According to NFL.com, Clement was projected to be a late day three pick, but it was still surprising to see him go undrafted. Either way, Clement could still challenge for playing time in Philly, even with the likes of Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles in front of him.
“Clement has the size and athletic ability that will help him land on a depth chart, but he appears to lack the fluidity, decisiveness, and vision needed to become a dependable, productive starting running back,” Lance Zierlein wrote in Clement’s NFL.com draft profile. “His best fit might be as a ‘committee back’ in a one-cut running scheme.”
Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale to the #Texans.
— patrick (@PatDStat) April 29, 2017
Ogunbowale may have been seen as a long shot to get taken out of the six Badgers prospects, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of luck. His experience being Wisconsin’s third-down back will really help Ogunbowale case as he tries to stick on an NFL roster.
“A third-down back with the effort and consistency to compete for a roster spot on the next level,” Zierlein wrote in Ogunbowale’s draft profile. “While his carry count is relatively low he’s a serviceable option as a runner and has the pass-catching talent to compete for snaps on a team devoid of a prototypical third-down back.”
Genetics gave me 5'9 but I always been in the underdog role !!!! Y'all know I can play. AZ in a couple weeks ! LES WORK !
— Sojourn Shelton II (@_SDS8) April 29, 2017
Shelton is a curious case, as he’s got the skills to play at the next level but the question comes with his size. However, his size, combined with his penalty history (flagged 15 times for pass interference in 2016), could keep him from sticking in the NFL.
“Shelton is an athletic cover man with quick, talented feet to stay connected to routes, but he lacks the functional size and strength needed for his work outside of coverage,” Zierlein wrote in Shelton’s draft profile. “While he clearly has the speed, quickness and instincts to handle man and zone coverage, any tackling concerns will be exacerbated as teams look to target him over and over if he’s on the field.”