Badger Rookie Named a Potential Surprise Starter by

This former Badger is getting some hype already.
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It's not easy to start in the NFL as a rookie, especially as a Day 3 pick. In fact, according to, only 10 players selected in rounds 4-7 in 2023 started 8 or more games last season. In their list of Day 3 picks who might be one of these select few, they list a former Badger whose versatility may give him just enough of an edge over some other veterans.

In his list,'s Chad Reuter names Tanor Bortolini as his number one choice for a potential surprise starter.

Bortolini was a center for the Badgers in 2023, but the Colts identified his position as guard when the pick was announced. He started at least one game at every O-line spot except left tackle during his college career, so he knows his way around multiple positions. Bortolini could wind up the heir apparent to center Ryan Kelly, who is due to become a free agent after the 2024 season, but as a rookie Bortolini could compete at right guard with Will Fries, who’s also in the final year of his deal.

The current Colt center Ryan Kelly will be 32, and a free agent next season, so it seems natural that Bortolini sits a year and assumes that role in 2025. Bortolini is versatile though and if he has the talent to compete this year at the starting guard position, why not let him? If his record setting combine is any indication, he will have no problems adjusting to the pro game.

The other Day 3 Badger pick, Braelon Allen, is slotted in behind Breece Hall on the New York Jets and, barring an injury, that won't change. One other name to keep an eye on is Green Bay Packer long snapper Peter Bowden. Bowden is an undrafted rookie, but with a solid camp, could earn the starting job for the green and gold. It will be a fun and interesting summer to watch how these rookie Badgers mesh with thier new teams.