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Wisconsin Football: Former Badgers Impress at the NFL Combine



Wisconsin football alumnus Nick Herbig at the 2023 NFL Combine

How did Wisconsin football alums fare at the NFL Combine?

Wisconsin football alums Keeanu Benton, Joe Tippmann, and Nick Herbig attended the NFL Combine this past weekend.

Here’s a look at how the former Badgers fared at the combine and what analysts are saying following their showings.

Nick Herbig

Herbig earned himself a prospect grade of 6.23 following his performance at the NFL Combine.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound EDGE completed the 40-yard dash and the bench press but did not participate in other workouts. Herbig posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.65 seconds, coming in at 15th among all EDGEs. He also completed 25 bench press reps, good for 8th in his position.

Here is what NFL analyst Lance Zierlein had to say about Herbig:

“A three-year starter as a 3-4 outside linebacker, Herbig is lacking in size and strength but possesses plenty of athleticism and potential. He can be a slippery rusher with subtle hands and a wicked inside move that leaves tackles in the mud. His lack of play strength limits his speed-to-power rush and his ability to stand his ground against tackles looking to widen him off the mark. He would benefit from a year in the weight room to get ready for NFL edge work, but he might have the instincts and athletic ability for consideration as an off-ball linebacker.”

Herbig is now a projected day-three pick for the NFL Draft after previously being projected as an undrafted player. Although a small jump, Herbig raised his draft stock after a solid showing at the combine.

Keeanu Benton

Benton was the only Wisconsin football alum to complete a full workout at the NFL Combine.

Here are Benton’s numbers:

40-yard dash: 5.08 seconds
Vertical jump: 29.5″
Broad jump: 9′ 3″
3-cone drill: 7.3 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.65 seconds
Bench press: 25 reps

Benton’s 40-yard dash time was good for the eighth spot among all defensive tackles. On top of that, the 6-foot-4, 304-pound DT finished in the top five in every other drill.

Here’s Lance Zierlein’s analysis of Benton:

“Benton is a powerful interior defensive lineman with size and persistence. He lacks the early rep explosiveness needed to get decisive wins at the point of attack on the pro level, though. Block engagements become drawn-out brawls at times, but he does a nice job of defeating block sustains and often finds himself near the play. He lacks a wide base and sturdy anchor, so he’ll need to improve his pad level to prevent double teams from moving him around too easily. He’s solid but needs to become a more consistently impactful force in the middle to make noise as an NFL starter.”

After impressing at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, Benton is a projected third-round pick who could be a good backup as he works his way to a starting spot. Wisconsin football fans know this, but whoever takes Benton will get a damn good player.

Joe Tippmann

Tippmann did not participate in workouts at the NFL Combine, but he did take his measurements.

Here are Tippmann’s measurements:

Height: 6” 6″
Weight: 313 lbs
Arm: 32 3/4
Hand: 10 3/4

Tippmann has the highest projection among Badgers who declared for the draft, as he is a projected second to third-round pick who can be a day-one starter.

Here’s what Lance Zierlein has to say about Tippmann:

“Two-year starter with the weight room strength and athleticism for work in a variety of run schemes. Tippmann is taller than your average center, but he can bend enough to neutralize at the point of attack. He’s a fluid move blocker who can make wide pulls, climbing cut-offs and adjustments to moving targets in space. He’s recognized for his football intelligence in the pivot and is an effective communicator. He needs to play with better posture and tighter hands to stay mirrored in protection and to improve his body control through engagement. Tippmann’s size, strength, smarts, and athleticism should help him become a starter in the NFL.”

Although Tippmann did not complete a workout, he will likely be the first Badger selected in the NFL Draft in April.

With the combine now over, the draft is just a month away. Be sure to watch where these former Badgers are taken as they begin their NFL journeys.

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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.