April 30, 2012
PITTSBURGH—Under the direction of Paul Chryst last season, the Wisconsin Badgers’ offense averaged a school-record 44.1 points per game en route to the Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl berth.
This past weekend, five of Chryst’s former offensive standouts were selected in the 2012 NFL draft.
Headlining the group was guard Kevin Zeitler, who was a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. In the second round, center Peter Konz was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. Zeitler and Konz were both All-America performers under Chryst, who oversaw five NFL draft picks on the offensive line the past two years.
In the third round, quarterback Russell Wilson was taken by the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson, who transferred from N.C. State to Wisconsin for his final season of eligibility, led the nation in pass efficiency with a staggering 191.78 rating (topping Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III's 189.48). Although Wilson did not arrive at Wisconsin until July, Chryst seamlessly adapted him into the Badgers' offensive schemes. Wilson went on to complete 73% of his passes for 3,175 yards with 33 touchdowns against only four interceptions.
Other Chryst pupils taken in the draft were receiver Nick Toon (fourth round, New Orleans Saints) and fullback Bradie Ewing (fifth round, Atlanta).
While Pitt did not have any players selected in this year’s draft, seven former Panthers signed free-agent contacts on Sunday.
Defensive lineman Chas Alecxih, a 2011 All-Big East performer who had 15.5 TFLs and 6.5 sacks, signed with the Miami Dolphins.
All-Big East linebacker Max Gruder, who had a career-high 116 tackles as a senior, signed with Atlanta.
Defensive back Buddy Jackson, who grabbed the attention of scouts with eye-popping numbers at his pro day workout, was signed by the Indianapolis Colts.
Aliquippa product Brandon Lindsey was signed by the hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. Lindsey, who has experience as both a down lineman defensive end as well as an outside linebacker, had 18.5 sacks his final two seasons.
Offensive lineman Lucas Nix, who made 33 starts during his college career, was signed by the Oakland Raiders.
All-Big East defensive back Antwuan Reed was signed by the Cleveland Browns. Reed led Pitt with seven pass breakups and three fumble recoveries last season. He also scored two touchdowns.
Greg Williams, a four-year starter at linebacker for the Panthers, inked a deal with the Houston Texans.
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