Former Wisconsin ILB an ‘UDFA to watch’ entering 2024 NFL season

Former Wisconsin inside linebacker Maema Njongmeta was named an ‘undrafted free agent to watch’ entering the 2024 NFL season by ProFootballFocus.

Njongmeta was PFF’s selection for the Cincinnati Bengals, as the service picked one ‘UDFA to watch’ on each NFL team.

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After two years as Wisconsin’s defensive leader, the inside linebacker signed with the Bengals after the 2024 NFL draft. He totaled 154 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception and 2 pass deflections over those two years starting for the Badgers.

Njongmeta was a breakout star in 2022 during the final year of Jim Leonhard’s tenure as defensive coordinator, then had an up-and-down 2023 in the first year under Mike Tressel and Luke Fickell.

Wisconsin has a terrific recent history of sending productive inside linebackers to the NFL — with T.J. Edwards, Jack Sanborn and Leo Chenal all in the last few seasons. Edwards and Sanborn weren’t highly-regarded entering the draft, then each turned into star contributors upon arriving in the league.

Here’s what PFF had to say about Njongmeta entering his first year with the Bengals:

Njongmeta has been a force at linebacker for Wisconsin over the last two years, registering 146 total tackles over 26 games. He earned a 76.7 grade in 2023 and an excellent 88.5 grade in 2022. Njongmeta could feasibly be a real special teams asset for the Bengals.

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Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire