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Former Badgers grade out average at combine

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February 26, 2014

Safety Dezmen Southward of Wisconsin wasn't allowed to work out at the National Football League scouting combine because of a medical problem.

An NFL team source said doctors didn't like the look of Southward's injured left wrist during the battery of tests given to players.

“He wanted to work and they wouldn't let him,” the team source said. “It's supposed to be OK. The agent is optimistic. He'll be back for the recheck (in April).”

Buddy Baker, Southward's Indianapolis-based agent, didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

Southward, 6 feet and 211 pounds, set a UW school record for games played with 54, never missing a game in his four-year career. Last month, he practiced all week with a soft cast on the wrist and played in the Senior Bowl.

He started all 27 games the past two seasons at safety after playing cornerback early in his career. After playing high-school football only as a senior in Sunrise, Fla., he red-shirted in 2009 UW.

“We see him in like the third round,” an NFC personnel man said before the wrist issue came to light. “Tough. Good size. Shows range.”

Scouts will convene in Madison on Wednesday for Badgers pro day.

Meanwhile, middle linebacker Chris Borland (5-11, 248) certainly didn't help his draft prospects and might have hurt them with his performance in the 40-yard dash and athletic tests.

Borland was clocked in 4.83 seconds, giving him the 21st best time among the 27 linebackers who ran.

He managed 31 inches in the vertical jump, the 25th best effort among 29 linebackers, and did 9-5 in the broad jump to tie for 24th among 30.

One month after having his arms measured at 287/8 inches at the Senior Bowl, Borland's length was 29 in Indianapolis.

“I think the 4.8 and the 29-inch arms will hurt him some,” said a personnel director for an NFL team. “That might be a problem. I see him more in the third (round) now instead of the second.”

Borland did impress on the bench press, finishing fifth among the 25 linebackers lifting with 27 reps at 225 pounds. His hand size (97/8) was good, too, and he scored high (32) on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test administered on campus.

In the past two months, several scouts have brought up inside linebackers Chris Spielman and Zach Thomas as comparables to Borland. In both cases, their combine performances were similar to Borland's.

In 1988, Spielman (6-0, 234) had a 4.89 40, a 32 vertical jump, a 9-0 broad jump and 23 reps on the bench. He scored 26 on the Wonderlic; his arm length wasn't available.

In 1996, Thomas (5-11, 233) had a 4.84 40, a 28 vertical jump, an 8-8 broad jump and 20 reps on the bench. His Wonderlic was 23; his arm length also wasn't available.

Drafted in the second round (No. 29) by Detroit, Spielman played 12 seasons and made the Pro Bowl twice.

Drafted in the fifth round (No. 154) by Miami, Thomas played 13 seasons and made six Pro Bowls.

In 2012, Philadelphia drafted inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks (5-11, 239) in the second round. Although he scored merely 14 on the Wonderlic, he had a 4.46 40, 39 vertical jump, 10-7 broad jump, 24 reps on the bench and 315/8 arms.

Of the 35 linebackers at the combine, one had 34-inch arms, 13 had 33-inch arms, 10 had 32-inch arms, six had 31-inch arms, four had 30 and Borland had 29. Arizona State's Carl Bradford had the next-shortest arms at 30.

The top-rated inside linebacker in this draft, Alabama's C.J. Mosley (6-2, 234), didn't run the 40 but had 333/8 arms.

“Second or third round,” an AFC personnel director said. “Somebody may kick him to the third because of size, but he's going to come in and start for somebody. Just a football player.

Here's how the Badgers' four other participants fared:

n■ Tight end Jake Pedersen (6-3, 238) had a 4.89 40 (tied for 13th among 15 tight ends), a 28 vertical jump (16th of 17), a 9-2 broad jump (16th of 16) and didn't do the bench press. His arms were 31 and his hands were just 9.

“He's like some of the tight ends they've had there in the past that play in the league,” an AFC scout said. “He's productive. He can catch. Not that fast but he's crafty and gets open.”

n■ Guard Ryan Groy (6-4, 316) had a 5.19 40 (tied for 19th of 39 offensive linemen), a 26 vertical jump (tied for 23rd of 42), a 9-0 broad jump (tied for seventh of 38) and 26 reps on the bench (tied for 16th of 40). His arms were 33 and his hands were big (103/8).

Scouts for one team had a third- to fifth-round grade. Two other teams viewed him as a late pick.

n■ WR Jared Abbrederis (6-1, 195) had a 4.50 40 (tied for 21st among 45 wide receivers), a 30 vertical jump (40th), a 9-7 broad jump (tied for 32nd) and four reps on the bench (last). His arms were 31 3/8 and his hands were 9 5/8.

“He may get drafted in the third or fourth round,” an AFC scout. “But he's going to be a competitive player from Day 1.”

■n RB James White (5-9, 204) had a 4.57 40 (tied for 16th among 33 running backs), a 32 vertical jump (tied for 25th), a 9-5 broad jump (ties for 27th) and 23 reps on the bench (tied for fourth). His arms were 29 and his hands were small (8).

“He fits a role,” an AFC scout said. “But he's not real big and he's not real fast. He can catch and he's a decent runner.”

Several scouts said White figured to be a fifth-round pick.



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