With the 2014 NFL Draft in the books and the regular season fast-approaching, Badger of Honor is taking an in-depth look at each and every Wisconsin Badger in the National Football League.
Up next in the series is another 2014 undrafted free agent hoping to earn his spot on an NFL roster: Ryan Groy.
Groy chose to play college ball in his hometown after being named the Wisconsin State Journal Player of the year after his senior season at Middleton High School. He began his Badger career with a redshirt season in 2009, and saw his first action in 2010, playing in every game that season, starting two.
Groy actually debuted as a fullback for Wisconsin, but played a variety of positions in his first season in uniform.
He made his first start on the offensive line in 2011, and again played in every game for the Badgers that season.
By his third year on campus, and in his redshirt-junior season, Groy settled into a starting role at left guard, where he would record all of his starts to finish out his career as a Badger.
He excelled in Wisconsin’s run scheme, and was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and honorable mention by the media in his junior season, leading to preseason mentions on the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists before the 2013 season.
In his senior year, Groy was named an AP third-team All-American, made the coaches first-team All-Big Ten team, and was named to the second team by the media.
Groy also set a Wisconsin record by playing in all 54 games of his Badger career.
Heading into the draft, many thought Groy would be a late round pick. As is typical for Wisconsin linemen, NFL teams knew they were looking at a big, physical, smart and versatile lineman who could step in and fill a need as the fifth or sixth member of an offensive line group.
Groy went undrafted, however, but found a home with the Chicago Bears shortly after the draft.
Chicago’s offensive line was right in the middle of the pack last season in the run game, paving the way for Bears running backs to 1,828 yards, the 16th highest total yardage in the NFL. The Bears line also kept their quarterbacks off of the ground, giving up just 30 sacks, which was tied for fourth best in the league.
If Groy can catch his coaches’ eyes in training camp, he has a chance to earn at the very least a practice squad spot as he looks to make it on to the active roster.