Undrafted Hawkeyes Sign Free Agent Deals, Earn Tryouts

April 28, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – It’s always nice to hear your named called in the NFL Draft. It not being called out isn’t the end, however. Iowa boasts plenty of examples.

Former Hawkeye defensive lineman Colin Cole played 12 years in the league after being an undrafted free agent. Offensive lineman Matt Tobin just completed his seventh season. James Ferentz has won two Super Bowls.

Those dreams began for several other Iowa players this weekend when they signed as free agents after being undrafted. The group included Matt Nelson, Nick Easley, Ross Reynolds and Keegan Render.

Nelson, who started three seasons on the defensive line at Iowa and was academic all-Big Ten four times, signed a deal with the Detroit. He joined fellow Hawkeye T.J. Hockenson, who the Lions selected with the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft.

Easley, a receiver who led Iowa in catches the last two seasons after walking on from Iowa Western, landed with the Buffalo Bills.

Ross Reynolds and Keegan Render started on the interior of Iowa’s offensive line the last two seasons. Reynolds signed a contract with San Francisco, while Render inked a deal with Philadelphia.

Defensive linemen Parker Hesse and Sam Brincks have shared a long history. In ’13, Brincks and Carroll Kuemper team beat Hesse’s Waukon team, 31-28, in the Class 2A state title game on a last-second field goal. Saturday, they both landed NFL tryouts.

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Detroit and Kansas City will bring in Hesse for a look. Brincks is headed to Green Bay for a minicamp tryout next weekend.

Fellow Iowa tight end Noah Fant joined Hockenson as a first-round draft pick, going No. 20 overall to Denver. Defensive end Anthony Nelson and Amani Hooker, a safety, were chosen in the fourth round by Tampa Bay and Tennessee, respectively.

Iowa reported that safety Jake Gervase agreed to a tryout with the Oakland Raiders and Kyle Groeneweg, a receiver, did the same thing with the Minnesota Vikings.

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HN has left messages with other Hawkeye NFL hopefuls Miguel Recinos, and Austin Kelly.

We’ll update this story if we hear back from any of them.

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