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Wisconsin Football: Dean Engram Switching Back to Defense?



Wisconsin football
Nov 13, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Dean Engram (6) celebrates following an interception during the third quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. – On Wednesday afternoon, wide receiver Dean Engram posted a not-so-cryptic video on social media suggesting he’s switching back to defense for the Wisconsin football team in 2023. 

This potential “announcement” comes one season after transitioning from UW’s nickel cornerback spot to slot wideout to play under his father, who served as the offensive coordinator last season. 

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound WR flashed in 108 snaps, catching 13 passes for 152 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Engram finished with a 69.5 grade for the 2022 season, which was second among Wisconsin football wide receivers. 

However, the established players ahead of Engram on the depth chart made it difficult to see consistent snaps. Now, Luke Fickell and Phil Longo have brought in a host of pass-catchers through the transfer portal, making it unlikely there would be snaps available for Engram in 2023. 

Wisconsin Football Adding to the Secondary?  

Wisconsin’s Dean Engram (6) runs to the the bench after making an interception during the quarter of their game Saturday, November 13, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin beat Northwestern 35-7.MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
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If Dean Engram truly is switching back to cornerback for Wisconsin football in 2023, this is a massive win for the defense. 

In 2021, Engram started five games, appearing in 13, and registered 20 tackles, three pass deflections, two pressures, and an interception, primarily as a nickel cornerback. Additionally, he finished with a 70.1 grade (good), according to PFF. 

Engram has played 410 snaps on defense during his Wisconsin football career, 330 of which came while playing in the slot. So, it’s safe to assume the coaching staff sees immediate snaps available for him following the departures of Jay Shaw, Cedrick Dort, and Justin Clark. 

If Dean Engram is indeed switching back to the defensive side of the ball, this makes sense for all parties involved. 

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