Biggest Disappointment: Graham Mertz
Entering fall camp, I have to admit – I was as bullish on a Graham Mertz breakout this season as anyone. I thought he’d take a noticeable step forward and possibly allow Wisconsin to better utilize some of the pass-catching weapons on the roster.
Well, I’m man enough to admit I was wrong on this one. Mertz did show some positive signs during the team’s seven-game winning streak, but ultimately Mertz was a liability under pressure – completing just 35% of his passes. However, when Mertz had a clean pocket, he completed 66.5% of his passes. Essentially, he was often able to take what was there, but nothing more – he failed to make teams pay for sending an extra pass-rusher.
Ultimately, it just wasn’t anywhere near enough from the highly touted quarterback. Mertz would finish the season having completed 58.7% of his passes for 1,821 yards (9 touchdowns/10 interceptions). Mertz would also account for four fumbles as well. For a team that requires its quarterbacks to take care of the football at an elite rate, this was less than ideal.
You can never put too much blame on one person, but Graham Mertz was this team’s biggest disappointment in 2021.
Biggest Surprise: Josh Seltzner
Entering the 2021 season, Josh Seltzner wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot on the offensive line. However, after exiting fall camp he had secured the starting left guard job and never looked back.
Seltzner proved to be an excellent run blocker all year long, and would ultimately finish the season as a 1st team All-Big Ten performer. Not bad for a former walk-on out of the state of Wisconsin.