New Orleans- The road to the NFL wasn't a straight shot for former Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk.
Ramczyk went to Division II Winona St. (MN) before quitting football to pursue a career in... welding. Ramczyk quickly learned that he missed football, and he transferred to Division III UW-Stevens Point before ending up at Wisconsin. Ramczyk made himself into a pro prospect, and he was taken by the Saints in the first round (32nd overall).
NFL teams wanted to speak with Ramczyk and make sure he was completely committed to football, and the first-team all-American put their minds at ease.
"Anytime some leaves the game, obviously they're going to be concerned about it," Ramczyk at rookie minicamp. "I think they saw what I did. Played at a D-III school, pushed myself even further. Go up to Division I. Now I'm here."
The former Badger admitted that getting a glimpse at life away from football is ultimately what brought him back. "When I gave the game up, it was kind of a shock. Like I've been playing football my whole life," Ramczyk said. "So to not have it anymore- it really hit me hard. Ever since then, full head of steam going into being the best player I can possibly be."