No matter what has been the result on the field for the Iowa football team recently, the Hawkeyes could always count on the NFL Draft.
But Thursday night in the first round of the 2013 draft, the Hawkeyes ares almost certain to not hear any familiar names called.
If so, it’ll be the first time in four years Iowa has not had a player picked in the first round.
Riley Reiff, Adrian Clayborn and Bryan Bulaga were first-round picks the past three years.
In fact, Iowa may not have any players picked on any of the three days of the NFL Draft this year… after having six players picked in each of the past three seasons.
In a seven-round mock draft at NFL.com, there was only one Hawkeye projected to be taken: cornerback Micah Hyde in the seventh round, pick 230, to Indianapolis.
Now, there are not many seven-round drafts out there. The nature of trying to guess what 32 general managers are going to do with every one of their picks is folly, really.
But what is clear is the top seniors from Iowa’s 4-8 team are not attracting a lot of attention in NFL circles.
Among those likely to be picked:
Micah Hyde, defensive back, is the player most pundits think will be chosen first among the Hawkeyes.
He attended the NFL Combine in February and ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash.
The fact that NFL teams see him as a cornerback or a safety gives him flexibility, but also may hurt his value.
“Teams might be split on his best NFL position,” writes NFL.com.
James Vandenberg, quarterback, got an invitation to the NFL Combine despite a rough senior season.
After throwing for 3,022 yards with 25 touchdown and seven interceptions as a junior, Vandenberg had just 2,249 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions under new offensive coordinator Greg Davis last season.
Davis said Wednesday: “It’s as much my fault as any player’s,” regarding the Iowa offense a year ago.
“I think he’ll get an opportunity to play at the next level,” Davis added.
Greg Davis and his new offense may have also hurt the value of:
Keenan Davis, receiver, who had 47 catches for 571 yards and one touchdown as a senior.
Considering Iowa’s all-time top receiver Marvin McNutt was drafted in the sixth round, 194th overall, last year, it probably doesn’t bode well for his former teammate, who didn’t enjoy the same results in college.
James Ferentz, center, made 38 straight starts for the Hawkeyes and was the bedrock of the offensive line for three seasons.
But despite the love of Hawkeye offensive linemen — Iowa has had 13 linemen picked over the past decade — Ferentz is ranked as the 11th- or 12th-best center in the 2013 draft.
His brother Brian, the Iowa offensive line coach, was not drafted but signed as an unrestricted free agent out of college.
The same path could be ahead for James.
Those are the only Hawkeyes listed as potential NFL players in the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet, but OL Matt Tobin, LS Steve Bigach, and DE Joe Gaglione could turn up, too.
The bottom line is, the NFL Draft can often be a mirror. It should not be a surprise that Iowa doesn’t have a lot of high draft picks after a 4-8 season.
On the other hand, I think the Kirk Ferentz and Chris Doyle player development pipeline still is trusted by the NFL.
But like everything with the Hawkeyes these days, you can’t suffer such dips for very long.
One of Iowa’s best selling points to high school seniors is its ability to develop NFL players. The Hawkeyes can’t afford to lose that calling card.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football