One of the neat things about being part of SB Nation is the access we have to their various experts throughout the network. If we want more details about the Chicago Bears' next opponent, we'll talk to one of our sister sites. If we want the skinny on the NFL Draft, we'll hit up our draft editor. And if we want some insight on the latest rookie class for the Chicago Bears, we'll go straight to the site that has covered their entire collegiate career.
Recently we had the chance to talk with Andrew Rosin, Editor of Bucky's 5th Quarter, the SB Nation site that covers the Wisconsin Badgers, about undrafted free agent offensive lineman Ryan Groy.
Windy City Gridiron - I love the fact that Groy started a couple games at fullback in 2010, is there a story behind that?
Andrew Rosin - There's no cute story there, the Badgers really had only one fullback on the roster, and he was converted to the position. They weren't certain he was ready quite yet and they needed insurance. Groy's a good athlete for his position, and in 2010 the Badgers had an experienced offensive line so he could take a year in the backfield.
Windy City Gridiron - Versatility is key for reserve linemen in the NFL, and Groy started at center, tackle and guard at Wisconsin, do you think he's athletic and smart enough to continue that versatility at the professional level?
Andrew Rosin - Absolutely, he tested out pretty well in the combine. He's not an A-list athlete, but he did well. And he's got the smarts to play multiple positions. He also showed an aptitude for long snapping at the East-West Shrine Game. If he doesn't stick, it's not because he can't handle doing more than one thing.
Windy City Gridiron - I've seen written in a couple places that Groy struggled mightily against the quick penetrating defensive line of the Arizona State Sun Devils (in particular Bears 3rd round draft pick Will Sutton) early in the 2013 season. Was that just a bad game by Groy, or is that indicative of his play?
Andrew Rosin - It was a bad game from Groy, but it wasn't a complete and total aberration. His technique can slip. But that being said? He had two great games in his last two facing some professional level defensive tackles in DaQuan Jones and Kelcy Quarles. It was unfortunate that the Arizona State game was his only purely nationally televised game, it probably cost Groy being drafted.
Windy City Gridiron - What is it about the Wisconsin program that readies so many offensive lineman for the NFL?
Andrew Rosin - It's a mixture of environment, coaching, and the strategy the Badgers run. The one competitive advantage that Wisconsin has is they have their pick of an array of hosses that play high school football in Wisconsin. And outside of the two weeks Mike Markuson was coaching the offensive line, they have had a run of competency on the coaching and developmental side of the ball.
They also run the ball over 60 percent of the time. That amount of reps will develop polish and show you which are the best run angles to take if you need to pull or reach the second level. By a lineman's senior year they are usually aggressive and intelligent run blockers. As such, you keep seeing prospects that come out of the box ready to run block in the NFL.
Windy City Gridiron - Were you surprised he wasn't drafted, and do you think he has a shot at sticking on an NFL roster?
Andrew Rosin - A little. I assumed he'd be one of those who fell between Pick 175 and the end of the draft, but those boards are things I'm never going to try and guess. But he definitely has a shot to stick. He can play four positions on the offensive line pretty well, and if you give him a chance to long snap, to borrow a phrase from Upworthy, the results might surprise you.
I think Groy should find his way onto a roster in some form. Will he get a pro bowl in his future? Probably not. But if he's on your team he'll be a good fit.
Thanks again to Andrew Rosin from Bucky's 5th Quarter!