Luke Goedeke of Valders High School selected by Tampa Bay, five Wisconsin Badgers picked in rounds 3-7 in the 2022 NFL draft
MADISON – When Luke Goedeke graduated from Valders High School in the spring of 2017, the all-conference tight end had zero football scholarship offers and a bad shoulder.
Undaunted, Goedeke enrolled at UW-Stevens Point and played in nine games as a freshman. He finished with 12 catches for 132 yards for the Pointers and then decided to transfer to Central Michigan, where he played offensive tackle.
That decision led to a dream coming true Friday night.
Goedeke was selected by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft, the No. 57 pick.
“He came a long way,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said during the network’s broadcast. “You’re talking about a former tight end/defensive lineman in high school. He was 6-4 and 250 then.
“Now Goedeke goes 6-5 and 312. Doesn’t have great arm length. He’s probably going to be a guard at the pro level.
“He can move defenders. His pass protection at guard should be excellent. I think he (is) starting material. I like what I saw of him on tape.”
After redshirting in 2018 at Central Michigan, Goedeke started 14 games at right tackle in 2019. He missed the 2020 season because of a knee injury but returned last season and was a first-team, all-conference pick.
John Spytek, Buccaneers vice president of player personnel, said he believes Goedeke can compete to start at left guard.
"He's a really smart kid who loves football," Spytek said for a story posted on the team website. "He fits what we've been talking about as a Buccaneer.
"Small-town Wisconsin kid, kind of self-made, went over to Central and played right tackle. I think we see him as a guard. He'll be in that competition at left guard with a chance to start, depending upon how he does this year. He's a great kid, really smart, humble, really tough.
"He's strong and aggressive. He's got some power to him. He's a good athlete. And I would lump competitiveness in with that, just rugged toughness. We love that, too. He's kind of all of those things.
"He's pretty solid at both run and pass blocking, with room to improve at both. These kids now, they grow up throwing the ball a lot more than they ever did, so they're probably a little more well-versed to playing in the passing game than they were 20 years ago when I was coming up."
Leo Chenal, Logan Bruss go in Round 3
Five Wisconsin players were taken in the draft.
Linebacker Leo Chenal was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round, the No. 103 pick overall.
His former teammate, offensive lineman Logan Bruss, went No. 104 to the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
"People who watch my game know I am going to be one of the most violent guys on the field at all times, being physical every single play that I’m in," Chenal told reporters during a conference call.
Chenal, from Grantsburg, broke into the starting lineup in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and in seven games recorded a total of 46 tackles (6.6 per game), including six for loss. He led UW in sacks (three) and hurries (seven).
Chenal became an All-American last season when he led UW in tackles despite missing the first two games of the season. He recorded 114 tackles, 23 more than fellow inside linebacker Jack Sanborn, and led UW in tackles for loss (17 ½) and finished second in sacks (eight).
Chenal showed his potential with two remarkable performances last season.
He recorded 17 tackles, including 2 ½ for loss, and forced a fumble in UW’s 20-14 victory over Army.
One week later, he had 3 ½ sacks, 5 ½ tackles for loss and nine total tackles in a 30-13 victory at Purdue.
"He is a thumper," Kiper said during the broadcast. "He is a throwback. He is a 1985-style middle linebacker. This kid really gets after you. A fun player to watch. He is downhill all the way."
The question about Chenal will be whether he can play on passing downs.
"That is the limitation," Kiper said. "Coverage is going to be an issue. Is he going to be versatile enough in the passing game -- hold his own at least -- to be able to be a guy who is not a liability?"
Chenal is aware of those doubts.
"The areas where maybe people would say I struggled in college," he said, "I'm just going to continue to grow and grow...and adapt and do whatever I can to be the best I can for this defense."
Bruss, a standout at Kimberly High School, started 35 games at UW. He played right guard and right tackle and likely will play inside in the pros.
Two former UW offensive linemen started for the Rams last season -- tackle Rob Havenstein and guard David Edwards.
"I was training in L.A. for the combine, and I know a couple guys on the Rams' O-line," Bruss told reporters during a conference call. "And it was good to be around that during that time, during the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
"I loved the area, and honestly this is the place I was kind of dreaming of coming to play. It's a dream come true. I'm excited to see some familiar faces there."
Edwards predicted Bruss would be joining the Rams. On April 7, he texted Bruss: "I'm betting the farm you'll be a Ram. I have no inside info. I just feel it deep in my plums."
Jake Ferguson goes to Dallas in Round 4
Former UW tight end Jake Ferguson was selected by Dallas in the fourth round on Saturday, with the No. 129 overall pick.
Ferguson, a graduate of Madison Memorial High School, started 36 games and played in 47 at UW. He left with 145 catches for 1,615 yards (11.1-yard average) and 13 touchdowns.
Ferguson is UW's highest drafted tight end since Lance Kendricks, a graduate of Milwaukee King, was selected by the Rams in the second round of the 2011 draft.
"They move him around in this offense," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during the broadcast Saturday. "He'll play in-line. They'll also flex him out. Good speed. Not going to wow you. Ran a 4.8 (40-yard dash). I think he runs faster than that when you watch him.
"Breaks tackles. Outstanding in the run game, especially on the outside. I think if he would have ran faster he would have been gone by now."
Denver takes Matt Henningsen in Round 6, Faion Hicks in Round 7
The Denver Broncos selected two UW defensive players Saturday, taking end Matt Henningsen in the sixth round (206th overall) and cornerback Faion Hicks in the seventh round (232nd overall).
Henningsen, a Menomonee Falls High School graduate, joined UW as a walk-on and earned a starting spot as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He finished with 29 starts and 42 games played at UW. His 2020 season was cut short after just two games when he suffered a torn biceps in a victory at Michigan.
Hicks considered returning to UW for a sixth season but eventually chose to enter the draft. He finished with 39 starts and 44 games played and led UW in passes broken up (10) last season.
Undrafted free agents
Six UW players, along with former UW quarterback Jack Coan, landed with teams as undrafted free agents.
Linebacker Jack Sanborn (Bears), cornerback Caesar Williams (Rams), guard Josh Seltzner (Colts), safety Scott Nelson (Seahawks) and wide receiver Kendric Pryor (Bengals) agreed to free-agent deals.
Wide receiver Danny Davis signed with the Packers.
Coan, who was on UW's roster from 2017 through 2020 but played last season at Notre Dame, signed with the Colts.