Most Indispensable Badger - No.30

Leading up to the season opener Aug.30, BadgerNation will announce its list of the 30 most important players to the Badgers' success in the 2014 season. Kicking off our countdown at No.30 is senior Konrad Zagzebski.

Senior Konrad Zagzebski is looking to cap off a solid career at Madison this season, as the Wisconsin native is looking to get the nod as a starting defensive end. At 6-3 and weighing in at 278 pounds, Zagzebski has the frame to thrive as a defensive end in the Badgers’ 3-4 scheme.

Stats: Earned second letter, playing in 13 games with three starts in 2014 … Made a career-high 19 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss last season.

Strengths: Surprising quickness for a 278-pound man, Zagzebski has Chris Borland-esque instincts and aggressiveness.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t have good enough closing speed if needs to chase down running backs or quarterbacks and currently isn’t too dangerous when it comes to knocking down passes.

Overall: Zagzebski is one of the few returning defensive ends to Wisconsin’s front seven this year, but he finally got extended repetitions in the rotation of UW’s new 3-4 scheme implemented last season. He will look to become a more effective pass rusher and help open up running lanes for the Badgers’ linebackers to run through. His strength and instincts will help him impact the defense and make them relevant in the Big Ten.

Why he is where he is: I chose to put Zagzebski at 30 because he has had a good amount of playing experience and will be a somewhat critical part of the defense. I use the word “somewhat” because he will potentially be overshadowed by other players that have a higher level of athleticism. There’s no discounting his experience, however, which could provide a boost to UW’s young front seven.

Up Next: With the departure of players in front of him, No.28 has a great opportunity to shine in 2014.

Note: This is not a list of the team's 30 best players or a series about past success, but rather a list of which players are the most critical to the team’s success in 2014. The list was created based on a player’s overall importance, impact on the field, the player’s position and expectations. True freshmen were not considered for this season.

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