Badgers have two players taken in the 2nd round

For the first time since 2017, the Wisconsin football team had a pair of players taken in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

Center Joe Tippmann was the first to come off the board, heading to the New York Jets with pick No. 43 overall in the second round. He becomes the sixth center from Wisconsin to get taken since 2000, joining the likes of Travis Frederick, Casey Rabach and Tyler Biadasz.

Tippmann started the last three seasons for the Badgers, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors the last two campaigns. A former four-star recruit, Tippmann left school after his redshirt junior season.

Defensive tackle Keeanu Benton would join Tippmann in hearing his name called just six picks later when the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed him at No. 49 overall. Benton, a native of Janesville, is just the latest Wisconsin player to end up in Pittsburgh. He’ll join four others already on the roster in linebacker TJ Watt, fullback Derek Watt, defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk and safety Scott Nelson.

Benton was a starter at Wisconsin from almost his first college game. He would go on to rack up 81 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He was part of a defense in 2021 that set the record for fewest rushing yards allowed in school history and finished No. 1 in the country in total defense.

With their selections, the Badgers 2019 recruiting class has now seen three players drafted, as they join linebacker Leo Chenal, who went in the third round to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022.