Former Wisconsin Badgers defensive lineman O’Brien Schofield has signed a deal with the Arizona Cardinals. The deal is believed to be a four-year contract worth $2.22 million with a bonus of roughly $430,000.
The road getting to the NFL wasn’t the smoothest for Wisconsin defensive lineman O’Brien Schofield, but he has officially arrived.
In the 2009-10 season, Schofield had a breakthrough performance at defensive end for the Badgers. Schofield finished the season with a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss, and combined with his fellow defensive end JJ Watt’s 11 TFL, made up ½ the tandem that led the nation in tackles for loss. Schofield found his way to the opposing quarterbacks as well, recording a team-high 12 sacks. Schofield was No. 2 in the Big Ten Conference in both sacks (12) and tackles for loss (12.5).
Schofield was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game at the end of his senior season. It was in practices for this game, that coaches decided to move Schofield to outside linebacker. Coaches saw the size, speed and athleticism of Schofield, and thought the move a good one. Rightfully so. With an interception and three solo tackles, Schofield earned defensive MVP honors. It was after this performance, and the ravings of the coaches, that Schofield was projected to play linebacker in the NFL.
Schofield quickly transitioned to practices for the 2010 Senior Bowl, and it was here that Schofield’s NFL stock would take a hit. During a drill in the practices, Schofield tore his Anterior cruciate ligament.
Schofield, coming off an impressive MVP performance in the East-West Shrine Game, was viewed as a high 2nd round pick in the NFL Draft. After his tear, many teams began to re-evaluate their draft plans on Schofield, and it appeared he would now go somewhere in the middle of the draft.
Schofield’s day would come, and his name would be called. Schofield was drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft, 130th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Despite Schofield’s injury, the Cardinals coaching staff believed the upside and talent outweighed the setback in getting Schofield on the field.
Schofield is expected to begin the 2010 NFL season on the physically unable to perform list. Schofield is expected to return late in the year as an outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals.