08 Hawkeyes One Good Team

July 27, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

The 2008 Iowa football team had a lot of great players….in fact, I think it’s the second best team of the Ferentz era.

Sure the 2009 team went 11-2 and won an Orange Bowl, the 2003 & 2004 teams were 10 game winners as well, in addition to the 2004 Hawks winning the Big Ten.

But I think the 2008 team was better than those clubs.

After the 2008 season, I felt that roster would see more players drafted to the NFL than any other single roster in Iowa history, and it’s heading that way.

But Brendan Stiles of HawkeyeDrive.com tweeted something Tuesday morning that got my attention…every starting member of the 2008 defense will wear an NFL uniform.  That, thanks to Tuesday’s free agent signings of Brett Greenwood to the Steelers, Jeremiha Hunter to the Saints.  They join Mitch King, Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballad, Matt Kroul, AJ Edds, Pat Angerer, Bradley Fletcher, Tyler Sash and Amari Spievey.  Seven of those 11 were drafted.

How about the offense?

Rick Stanzi, Bryan Bulaga, Brandon Myers, Shonn Greene, Seth Olsen, Rob Bruggeman, Kyle Calloway and Julian Vandervelde make that cut…Andy Brodell failed his physical with the Packers and DJK is still to be determined if he will sign a free agent contract.  Brett Morse is still TBD as well.

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That’s 20 of 22 position players that wore an NFL roster at least at some point during training camp, with 13 of the 22 drafted.  Throw punter Ryan Donahue into that mix and you are up to 21.

You might even be able to argue that the 2008 Iowa roster had the most NFL talent than any other Iowa roster in history…

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Perhaps none of these players will shine as brightly in the NFL as have 2002 roster alums Dallas Clark (All Pro tight end), Bob Sanders (NFL Defensive Player of the Year) or Nate Kaeding (one of the most accurate place kickers in NFL history).  But can the 2002 starting lineup boast 21 players that at least made an NFL training camp?

I can’t answer that for sure, but unofficially I counted 20 players that were on the 2002 team who made an NFL regular season roster at least once.

I currently count 16 (unofficially) from the 2008 roster that either have made an active 53-man NFL roster, or are locks to do so.  For example, Adrian Clayborn is going to make it for Tampa, Rick Stanzi will make it for the Chiefs, etc.  That number DOES NOT count any of today’s free agent signings, nor does it count a player like Riley Reiff, who is a lock to make the NFL as long as he doesn’t get injured.

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I think if you lined the 2002 team up at its season ending peak, against the 2008 Hawkeyes at their peak, the 2002 team would win.  It had a confident senior quarterback and was upper class heavy.

But the 2008 team was a fine, fine Iowa football team…losing its four games by a total of 12 points and none by more than five.

This exercise is also a reminder of the stability within the program during the Ferentz era…to have so many good teams at a school where its not as easy to put together such consistency should never be taken for granted.

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