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2022 NFL Draft Preview: Wisconsin Football Alumni

04/28/2022, 12:00pm CDT
By Colton Wilson

Each year over 250 college football players have their dream come true, being selected in the NFL Draft. The state of Wisconsin has seen many former high school greats achieve that dream.

Last season four alumni heard their names called over the three day Draft; Hartford's Quinn Meinerz in the third round by the Denver Broncos, Kenosha Indian Trail's Daviyon Nixon in the fifth round by the Carolina Panthers, Bay Port's Cole Van Lanen in the sixth round by the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Lutheran's Chris Garrett in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Rams.

Since 2011, 34 different alumni have been taken in the NFL Draft. First round selections are J.J. and T.J. Watt of Pewaukee, both taken in the first round (2011 & 2017), Ryan Ramczyk of Stevens Point (2017), Trae Waynes and Melvin Gordon of Kenosha Bradford (2015), Travis Frederick of Big Foot (2013), Kevin Zeitler of Wisconsin Lutheran (2012) and Gabe Carimi of Monona Grove (2012).

For a full list of NFL Draft selections since 2011, scroll to the bottom of the article.

For a list of alumni in the NFL in past seasons click here

Most Likely To Be Drafted

Leo Chenal, Grantsburg

Projected - third round

Chenal declared for the NFL draft after his junior season at Wisconsin, a season in which he recorded 106 total tackles, 17 for loss, and seven sacks. Chenal was named First Team All-Big Ten, The Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and a AFCA Fist-Team All-American. Before starring for the Badgers, Chenal amassed up over 5,000 total yards, over 80 touchdowns and nearly 400 tackles for small town Grantsburg. He was a two-time All-State selection and racked up a trio of awards his senior year. Chenal was named the WFCA Small School Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year as well as the WSN John Anderson Award winner for the state's top senior linebacker. 

Jake Ferguson, Madison Memorial

Projected - fifth round

Ferguson, like Chenal was an impact player for years for Wisconsin. After redshirting his freshman season, the former Spartan racked up 142 catches for 1,585 yards and 12 touchdowns over the next four seasons. He was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten tight end. At Madison Memorial, he had over 1,700 receiving yards, despite only playing in six games as a senior.

Matt Henningsen, Menomonee Falls

Projected - 5th-6th round pick

Henningsen excelled on the gridiron at Wisconsin, beginning week one of his freshman season where he was the first walk-on to start the season opener his true freshman season since at least 1990. During his Badger tenure, Henningsen tallied 13 tackles for loss, eight sacks and scored a pair of touchdowns. He was also a finalist for the William V. Campbell award, which is referred to as college football's "Academic Heisman." At Menomonee Falls, Henningsen was a force on both sides of the line and earned 2016 WFCA All-State honors.

Logan Bruss, Kimberly

Projected - 6th-7th round

Bruss, like the three mentioned before is from the hometown Wisconsin Badgers. He also is a four year starter, starting over 35 games on the offensive line. He earned All-Big Ten honors his last two season on campus. At Kimberly, he was a two-time WFCA All-State selection and was a part of three state champion teams.

Luke Goedeke, Valders

Projected 4th-6th round

Goedeke transferred as a tight end to Central Michigan from UW-Stevens Point, but quickly made the switch to offensive line. He was named a First Team All-MAC selection and has risen up draft boards. A relatively under-the-radar prospect at Valders, Goedeke wasn't named to the all-state team, but excelled at UW-Stevens Point before his transfer.

Potential Late Round/Undrafted Free Agent Signees

Way less than 1% of college football players are drafted in the NFL. Many have found opportunities via signing as free agents after the draft and attending pro team training camp.

Darlington's Alex Erickson and Bay Port's Alec Ingold are two of the more recent NFL players from the Badger State that went undrafted and have had successful careers. Whitefish Bay's Nick Bellore has been in the league for over ten seasons after going undrafted.

The following are a few players who are hopeful to be drafted, but may sign as free agents after.

Airon Servais, Ashwaubenon

Servais started 60 straight games at Syracuse to finish his college career, culminating in an Honorable Mention All-ACC nod. At Ashwaubenon, Servais was ranked as the seventh best offensive lineman and sixteenth overall prospect in the state of Wisconsin on WSN.

Josh Seltzner, Columbus

Played in nearly 50 games during his tenure at Wisconsin, highlighted by a First Team All-Big Ten honor and AP Third Team All-American nod as a senior. At Columbus, Seltzner was named to the WFCA All-State team and also was the Capitol-North Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Mike Caliendo, Brookfield East

Caliendo started nearly 60 games in his career at Western Michigan and was a three time All-MAC selection. As a senior, Caliendo was the fifth ranked offensive lineman and thirteenth overall player on WSN. He was a 2015 WFCA All-State selection on the offensive line.

Noah Harvey, Arrowhead

Harvey took advantage of injuries and worked his way into a starting role for Michigan State over the past three seasons. He tallied 137 total tackles, 11 for loss and three sacks in his career as a Spartan. He was the top ranked linebacker by WSN and named to the WFCA All-State First Team.

Keonte Schad, Madison East

Schad transferred from Minnesota to Oregon State where he finished his college career as an Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 selection after tallying 46 tackles, six for loss, and two and a half sacks. At Madison East he played quarterback, offensive line and linebacker, showing his athletic versatility.

John Chenal, Grantsburg

Chenal is one of a long list of walk ons that found success at the fullback position for Wisconsin and he is looking to translate that to follow in the footsteps of Bradie Ewing, Derek Watt and Alec Ingold, all of whom played in the NFL. While at Grantsburg High School, he amassed more than 5,500 total yards and 70 touchdowns and had nearly 400 tackles in three seasons. He was named to the WFCA All-State team as a senior on both offense and defense.

Other Possible Free Agent Hopefuls

Derek Schweiger, Plymouth (Iowa State)
Alonzo Velazquez, Janesville Parker (Wyoming)
Brett Samson, Oconomowoc (South Dakota)
Jordan Canady, New Berlin Eisenhower (North Dakota)

Previous Football Alumni Draft Selections

2021 Quinn Meinerz Hartford 3 98 Denver Broncos
2021 Daviyon Nixon Kenosha Indian Trail 5 158 Carolina Panthers
2021 Cole Van Lanen Bay Port 6 214 Green Bay Packers
2021 Chris Garrett Wisconsin Lutheran 7 252 Los Angeles Rams
2020 Zack Baun Brown Deer 3 74 New Orleans Saints
2020 James Morgan Ashwaubenon 4 125 New York Jets
2020 Ben Bredeson Arrowhead 4 143 Baltimore Ravens
2020 Tyler Biadasz Amherst 4 146 Dallas Cowboys
2020 Robert Windsor Fond du Lac 6 193 Indinapolis Colts
2020 Nate Stanley Menomonie 7 244 Minnesota Vikings
2019 Max Scharping Green Bay Southwest 2 55 Houston Texans
2018 Daurice Fountain Madison Memorial 5 159 Indianapolis Colts
2017 TJ Watt Pewaukee 1 30 Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 Ryan Ramcyzk Stevens Point 1 32 New Orleans Saints
2017 Vince Biegel Wisconsin Rapids 4 108 Green Bay Packers
2016 Joe Schobert Waukesha West 4 99 Cleveland Browns
2016 Eric Murray Milwaukee Riverside 4 106 Kansas City Chiefs
2016 Derek Watt Pewaukee 6 198 San Diego Chargers
2015 Trae Waynes Kenosha Bradford 1 11 Cincinnati Bengals
2015 Melvin Gordon Kenosha Bradford 1 15 San Diego Chargers
2014 Jared Abbrederis Wautoma 5 176 Green Bay Packers
2014 Ben Gardner Homestead 7 231 Dallas Cowboys
2014 Shelby Harris Homestead 7 235 Houston Texans
2013 Travis Frederick Big Foot 1 31 Dallas Cowboys
2013 AJ Klein Kimberly 5 148 Carolina Panthers
2013 Ricky Wagner West Allis Hale 5 168 Baltimore Ravens
2012 Kevin Zeitler Wisconsin Lutheran 1 27 Cincinnati Bengals
2012 Peter Konz Neenah 2 55 Atlanta Falcons
2012 Brandon Brooks Milwaukee Riverside 3 76 Houston Texans
2012 Nick Toon Middleton 4 122 New Orleans Saints
2012 Bradie Ewing Richland Center 5 157 Atlanta Falcons
2012 Brad Nortman Brookfield Central 6 207 Carolina Panthers
2011 JJ Watt Pewaukee 1 11 Houston Texans
2011 Gabe Carimi Monona Grove 1 29 Chicago Bears
2011 Lance Kendricks Milwaukee King 2 47 St. Louis Rams

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