Frederick believes his performance on the field is enough for pro scouts
MADISON Considering the amount of television coverage it's given annually, February's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis has become a bit of a spectacle, including the emphasis put on a prospect's 40-yard dash time.
According to draft analyzers, a tenths-of-a-second difference in the 40-yard dash could be the difference between a first-round draft pick and a third-round selection, not to mention the millions of dollars involved.
However, to offensive lineman Travis Frederick, his time in the 40-yard dash is just a number, and an insignificant one at that.
"For an offensive lineman, your 10- and 20-(yard) splits are more important because you don't spent a lot of time running 40 yards," said Frederick. "I think it's more about your quickness and the way you play the game."
That was the main reason Frederick—a native of Sharon and former Walworth Big Foot athlete—focused solely on individual lineman drills at the University of Wisconsin's annual pro timing day on the UW practice field Wednesday afternoon.
With scouts from 30 of the 32 NFL teams in attendance, Frederick and fellow offensive lineman Ricky Wagner certainly drew a crowd, as the duo showcased pass-blocking, lateral movement and foot speed.
Skipping his senior season after earning first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media, Frederick's goal was simple: let his film, the way he does drills and the way he plays speak for itself.
"I wanted to show I have ability and I have talent at those drills," Frederick said. "I think I did that."
Regarded as the top center in the draft, Frederick measured 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds at the NFL combine and had a time of 5.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which tied for second-slowest among linemen who ran the 40. He was also well below average on the bench press, doing 21 repetitions at 225 pounds.
"I thought about redoing some of that stuff, but there's not a whole lot I can improve on," Frederick said. "There's not a whole lot of reason for me to go on that again. The numbers are out there, and that's kind of how it is."
Frederick's predecessor, Peter Konz, also had issues on the bench press at last year's combine, only doing 18 reps. Konz was selected in the second round—55th overall—by the Atlanta Falcons and started 10 games at guard.
In three years at Wisconsin, Frederick started 18 games at center (including all 14 last season) and 13 at left guard and is regarded as a better prospect than Konz by mock draft experts.
"His versatility, his strength, his potential, the man is built like a safe," said Joe Panos, a former All-American lineman at Wisconsin who is now Frederick's agent. "He's solid. His weight-room strength carries over to the football field, and that's hard to do."
Training with Wagner in Irvine, Calif., leading up to last month's combine, Frederick will continue to train on campus until the draft. He plans to spend time during the NFL Draft—April 25-27—at home with his parents and a handful of family friends while awaiting his NFL opportunity.
"I came to Wisconsin because they produce NFL linemen," he said. "The legacy is so great, so it's important for me to be able to carry on that legacy, hopefully live up to it and put a good name out there for Wisconsin."