Everyone has had that déjà vu feeling before; seeing something you feel like you have already seen. In this series, we are looking at players who almost declared for the 2019 draft but returned for another year of college football. We’ll take you through their strengths and highlight some areas for improvement for the coming year as these players are expected to be near the top of their respective positions throughout the coming CFB season and therefore should be pretty high draft picks, should everything go to plan.
In this, the final (for now) episode of Draft Déjà Vu, we’re going to get down and dirty in the trenches again, this time we’re sticking on offense and we’re looking at Tyler Biadasz, the center from Wisconsin.
Biadasz is a player I studied last year because, even as a redshirt sophomore, I thought we’d see him declare for the draft. I feel like he’d have been ready for it and I had him down as the best interior offensive lineman in college football last year – Which given that Garrett Bradbury was drafted 18th overall by the Vikings, gives you an idea where Biadasz could have been drafted.
However, Biadasz is reported to have received a “stay in school” grade from the NFL Draft advisory board last year, meaning he graded out as a third rouner, or later. Which I find really odd, to say the least.
So who is Tyler Biadasz?
The Wisconsin native, is a 6’3, 318lb center, who was a 3 star recruit when he arrived in Madison in 2016. Biadasz actually played defensive line in high school before redshirting his freshman year and switching the offense – And what a change it’s been!
In 2017 and 2018, Biadasz has started 27 of 27 games and rated as number 1 center in college football was a consensus choice for first team All-Big 10 as part of arguably the most talented offensive line in college football last season.
I feel that going into 2019, Biadasz should be heading into the season looking to cement his place as one of the top interior offensive linemen in the college football ranks and should be heading towards being a first round pick. I’d also imagine that due to the fact that Biadasz applied for a draft grade after last year he’s; a) definitely not planning on going back for his Senior year and b) he’s due graduate in the winter so therefore he will be eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, despite not actually being a Senior, and this should give his draft stock another boost.
Let’s get into Biadasz then.
First off, Biadasz is clearly an intelligent lineman. Pre-snap, he’s always gesticulating and communicating with his quarterback, working on protections and assignments. This is clearly something he will absolutely be expected to do at the NFL level, so if he’s confident doing it now, then that’s obviously a big check in the box.
Biadasz isn’t fooled by the defensive line switching positions at the last second or by stunts and twists either. I don’t recall one occasion when the center was beaten in this manner – I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, I just didn’t see it through four games of study.
Aside from his football IQ, I really like the way Biadasz plays in terms of his pad level. Playing in the trenches, it’s absolutely vital that you stay low and get leverage on your opponent. Biadasz almost always plays low and this is part of the reason of why he almost never gets pushed back, like ever, whether that be in run blocking or pass protection.
Here’s an example from last year’s game against Nebraska;
You’ll see in the clip, Biadasz is in his stance prior to the snap and once he snaps the ball back, he barely gets any taller as he springs forward to start run blocking. This is obviously just one example but to me, this is the norm for the Badgers center.
Let’s talk more about run blocking. This is a real strength of Biadasz’s game, he’s a really powerful guy and plays in that mould. He uses his power at the point of attack and can either run you over or he’ll redirect you in a manner that opens up a lane for the running back – There are a few reasons why Jonathan Taylor has rushed for over 4,000 yards in the past two seasons with Biadasz at the pivot spot.
I love this play, which is also from the Nebraska game from last season;
There’s really only ever one winner on this rep and it’s #61 in the red jersey. Quick off the ball, lovely hand placement and then he just drives his whole body, driving his legs and doesn’t stop until he’s pancaking his man 4 or 5 yards down the field. That’s what I want to see from my offensive linemen!
Next up, he’ll see Biadasz bend a guy to his will, in order for Jonathan Taylor to make a big gain. This one is from the New-Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes;
It’s actually pretty funny that Biadasz kind of walks his man around in a circle – he had no chance, did he? That kicking ass at the point of attack.
Was that last rep as good as it gets? Oh no, can we include a pancake and a touchdown? Coming right up.
Taylor must love those big guys up front… They’re making his future self a lot of money.
So, what do we have here? Just a big body that bullies defensive linemen? Nope. Considering that Biadasz is well over 300lbs, he moves smoothly and is a good athlete; he can pull as a blocker and he can get to the second level in order to gain extra yards for his running back or receiver.
Here’s another play from the Nebraska game;
Unlike guards or tackles performing pull blocks, Biadasz has the added step of having to snap the ball but that’s no issue whatsoever. Biadasz get the ball away and he sprints out to the left to cut off a linebacker for another big gain. He really was a key cog in this Wisconsin running machine last year and will be again in 2019 – I’m all sorts of excited to see him and Taylor work in tandem again. The added complication for the pair as well as the Badgers will be that there’s no Beau Benzschawel, no Michael Deiter and no David Edwards on that line anymore, so now Biadasz is the undoubted star of the unit. Different responsibility and different pressures – It should be fascinating.
Let’s transition into the passing game now…
How about a little bit of screen action for you here? Not the prettiest play you’ll ever see but the Iowa defender is kept at arms’ length at all times and Wisconsin gains a nice chunk of yardage.
Now we’ll take a look at more traditional pass protection work and we’ll stay with the Iowa game from last year.
Again, this is just one example of something that’s constantly on show from Biadasz. Given that Iowa are in an even front, Biadasz doesn’t have anyone lined up over him and he has to look for work on the play. I love how his head is constantly on a swivel and he’s watching how his teammate’s battles are going before deciding to help out where needed. Again, this shows his alertness that I mentioned earlier on.
Obviously, facing even fronts isn’t always going to happen, in fact, in college football it’s way more commonplace to face a 3-4 base defense than it is in the NFL.
Let’s have a look at an example of Biadasz with a nose tackle up in his grill. Back to the Nebraska game we go;
I really like how Biadasz is nice and wide in his base in the face of a larger guy. He is stout and really keeps the nose tackle at arm’s length, resetting his feet and dropping anchor a couple of times through the rep. This is excellent to see – Interior pressure is a huge thing in the NFL nowadays, so your interior linemen need to be able to drop anchor and keep rushers from collapsing the pocket. This is a really nice example of Biadasz performing at a high level with pressure in his face immediately after the snap of the ball.
Obviously, every player has their flaws though and Biadasz has one that really stands out. Every single game, over and over again…
The man C A N N O T stay off the ground.
I don’t even know why he fell over here. He wasn’t under that much duress, it didn’t seem like he even went down under too much pressure… He kind of just capitulates here. This clip was from the Miami game in 2017 but this is a really concerning theme throughout all of the games that I watched of Biadasz.
I feel like the reason for this is that he’s a little bit of a lunger and a leaner, He doesn’t always move his feet through a block and just leans into contact which unbalances him immediately, rather than driving his feet and therefore his whole body weight through an opponent – This is something I really need to see an improvement in for the 2019 season.
Having said that, I really can’t fault his game much beyond that. I have literally no clue how he was given a return to school grade from the advisory board last year, there must be some pretty bad tape out there that I just haven’t seen – To me, it’s more like Tyler Badass, not Biadasz.
Keep your eyes peeled in future, as we may have more Draft Déjà Vu coming your way. Before then though, Thomas Rowberry and I will be talking Texas QB, Sam Ehlinger very soon.
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