Earlier this week, I wrote about surrounding questions about Wisconsin’s offense. The defense arguably has more to replace and more to prove in 2022. Here are my questions regarding the 2022 Wisconsin defense.
Who Are The Starting Cornerbacks?
The cornerback room is essentially brand new for the Badgers. Faion Hicks and Caesar Williams are both in the NFL and Dean Emgram has switched to wide receiver. Senior Alexander Smith is the most experienced returning corner.
The Badgers did add three transfers at corner. Jay Shaw (pictured above), Cedrick Dort, and Justin Clark all add needed depth and experience. The only one that seems to be a locked in starter is Shaw. I could see this being a corner by committee group. We could see Smith, Dort, and Clark over a course of each game.
Who Starts at Inside Linebacker?
Wisconsin will have a big challenge replacing Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn. Both are now in the NFL and should see the field every Sunday. This is a position that could take time to develop. However, the talent is certainly there.
Right now, I would expect Tate Grass and Jordan Turner to start at inside linebacker. I especially like Turner because of the raw talent he showed in the Vegas Bowl against Arizona State. Wisconsin really likes him and I think he has the potential to be all over the field. I think the Badgers have their guys, but it’s hard to replace production they got from Chenal and Sanborn.
Will There Be A Drop Off This Year?
Right now, it’s hard to believe this years defense will be better than last year. Three defensive starters were drafted and they logged a lot of snaps throughout their careers.
I do like the depth and the Badgers use of the transfer portal. After Dean Engram made the switch to wide receiver, it became apparent the transfer portal needed to be used. I do think this has the chance to be another really good defense. Better than last years? Probably not. However, I’ll never question the magic of Jim Leonhard either.
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