Six former Wisconsin Badgers joined over 300 fellow draft prospects at the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis over the weekend. Chris Borland, Jared Abbrederis, Ryan Groy, Dezmen Southward, James White, and Jacob Pedersen represented this year's class of alumni invited to the coveted showcase, all hoping to raise their stock in June. The six are the most selected from any team in the Big Ten, along with Ohio State who also had six. Every team in the conference had at least one recent graduate playing in Indianapolis.
Baylor and Oregon also sent a sextet to the combine. Alabama led the nation with 12 representatives, while defending NCAA champions Florida State sent nine. Only 13 programs sent at least five players.
Wide receiver Abbrederis dominated headlines as the likely premier pick coming out of Wisconsin. Already boasting higher stock as a result of an impressive showing at this year's Senior Bowl, Abberderis added 10-pounds to his frame and nearly met his self-proclaimed goal of a 4.4 second 40-yard dash. Only nine wide receivers at the combine managed better than 4.4 seconds. The Wisconsin native's best performances came in the three-cone drill and the shuttle. He placed within the top-15 wide receivers in both.
Blemishing Abbrederis' otherwise solid weekend rankings was a last place finish in the bench press. Struggling with strength at the Senior Bowl as well, he posted just four reps at 225 pounds in the final workout on Sunday.
Also noted in state press was the invitation of stand-out defensive lineman Borland. Earning a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award for his senior season in Madison, Borland's future as a pro was very much in question prior to the weekend. At just under six-feet, he is one of the smallest linemen on showcase in-front of the scouts, and his stats in the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, and broad jump reflected that. However, 27 reps at the bench press was good enough for fifth most, and unexpected top-15 showings in the shuttle and three-cone drill seems to have provided some redemption.
Groy joined Borland in the lineman workouts, finishing in the top-20 in all but one event. Pedersen matched that mark in the tight end corps, including a second-place 60-yard shuttle.
White's combine performance among running backs was about what was expected. 23 reps at the bench press put him in the top-five for the event, though lackluster standings in the other drills only strengthened critic's assertions that his overall small size will hold him back.