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.
Our next Badger is Wisconsin’s final undrafted signee following the 2014 NFL Draft: tight end Jacob Pedersen.
Pedersen finished his career as arguably one of the best tight ends in Wisconsin history. His 17 career touchdowns are the most among Badger tight ends, and seventh all time among all receivers in Wisconsin history. He also ranks 16th in school history with 1,394 reception yards.
That storied career began in 2009 when Pedersen chose Wisconsin after playing football in Menominee, Michigan, where he was a two-way star, playing both tight end and defensive back. He also excelled at both basketball and track and field.
Pedersen redshirted his first season on campus, then in 2010 saw action in 13 games, starting four. While he was mainly a special teams player, he made his first career start at tight end against Michigan State, and caught a pair of passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. He ended his redshirt freshman season with eight receptions for 132 yards and two scores.
2011 saw Pedersen’s playing time increase, and he started seven of the 14 games he played. Pedersen caught 30 balls for 356 yards and 8 TD’s, a performance that led to a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and an honorable mention by the coaches. He was a semifinalist for the Mackey Award as well.
He was named to the Mackey Award watch list ahead of the 2012 season, and though his reception numbers went down, had another fine season, catching 27 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns. He again collected numerous accolades for his strong performance, and was named the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year, and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches, and honorable mention honors from the media.
Pedersen was again named to the Mackey Award watch list before his senior season in 2013, and went on to have career high’s for both receptions (39) and reception yards (551). He trailed only Jared Abbrederis in both receptions (Tied James White with 39 catches) and yardage.
Surprisingly, Pedersen went undrafted, but was immediately signed by the Atlanta Falcons in free agency, along with his teammate and fellow tight end Brian Wozniak.
Pedersen seems likely to make the roster, as his abilities as a receiver will fit nicely alongside Atlanta’s receiving threats Julio Jones and Roddy White.