Most Indispensable Badger - No.27

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. With not much depth behind him, the healthy of fifth-year senior Dallas Lewallen - No.27 on our list - is vital to UW's offensive line.

With only seven starts to his name in his Wisconsin career (mostly due to multiple knee injuries early in his career), fifth-year senior Dallas Lewallen will look to solidify his role on the offensive line. His impressive 6-6, 322-pound frame will do wonders for Lewallen this upcoming season as he finally has collegiate starting experience which he did not have a season ago. With many returning offensive players, Lewallen will look to compliment others around him and keep the offensive weapons safe.

Strengths: Lewallen’s biggest strength has to be his frame and how he uses it. He is incredibly strong and is able to use his strength to handle whoever the defense throws at him. He is able to clear plenty of running lanes for the Badgers tailbacks and fullbacks.

Weaknesses: Like other players on the offensive line, Lewallen has dealt with injuries every season, including missing the last third of last season and all of spring football. He will be facing quick defenses and will need to work on his versatility and quickness.

Why he is where he is: Putting Lewallen at 27 is a safe choice. He has gained valuable experience since last season and is consistent enough to get the job done. Honestly, Lewallen could be anywhere between 20 and 30, but I felt that 27 was safe.

Overall: Lewallen has lost a few pounds since last season but is still considered the stereotypical Wisconsin lineman; big and deceptively quick. Although his play will go unnoticed most likely, he will be important to the Badgers’ offensive success. Look for Lewallen to fight for the guard position with redshirt junior Ray Ball.

Up Next: Another fifth-year senior with past injuries, No.26 on our countdown is one of the toughest and strongest pound-for-pound players on Wisconsin’s roster, a vital trait for his position.

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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