2011 NFL Draft from an Iowa Perspective
by Patrick Webb
Iowa will have seventeen Seniors who have a chance to make NFL rosters after the upcoming 2010 season. I feel that there are three categories of players- locks to be drafted, players who may get a long hard look and be late rounders and at worst free agent pick-ups, and long shots. Iowa also has four Juniors and a Redshirt Sophomore who could consider throwing their name into the ring. For the lock category I have: Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Jeremiha Hunter, Ricky Stanzi, Ryan Donahue, and Allen Reisner. The maybe category includes: Jeff Tarpinian, Karl Klug, Brett Greenwood, Brett Morse, and Julian Vandervelde. The long shots would include: Colin Sandeman, Don Nordmann, Troy Johnson, Josh Koeppel and Kyle Haganman. The underclassmen would consist of Juniors Tyler Sash, Broderick Binns, Marvin McNutt, Shaun Prater and Sophomore Riley Reiff. I think it is unlikely that any of the underclassmen leave early this season as I don’t think any would be high enough of a pick to make it financially imperative to leave and I think that a NFL rookie cap is coming if a labor agreement is reached. I think the days of 45 to 60 early entrants to the NFL are over.
Adrian Clayborn RDE 6’4 285 SR: Already on most every preseason publications’ All-American list and a consensus first round draft selection for next season. Can play DE in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. Can play all 3 downs in the NFL, is equally effective vs. the run or the pass. Has a medical issue that could scare some teams. Games scouts will be watching 9/11 vs. ISU, 10/ vs. Wisconsin, 11/13 vs. Northwestern, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: Pick 8-15 to a 3-4 team.
Christian Ballard DT 6’5 297 SR: Underrated in most preseason magazines, only Phil Steele is giving him attention. Was just learning DT position last season. Really came on strong late in the year. A natural “3” in a 4-3 and has the size and length to play “5” in a 3-4. Great first step and very good motor, great athleticism and very good speed to pursue plays away from him. Games Scouts will be watching 10/2 vs. Penn State, 10/16 vs. Michigan, 10/23 vs. Wisconsin, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: With a really good season I think he could be a late First rounder, but is more likely a mid to late second round selection.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos WR 6’1 200 SR: Again another underrated Hawkeye, 3rd team Athlon, and 2nd team Phil Steele, is also Wes Bunting’s 5th rated Senior WR. A good athlete and a polished route runner. Slippery with the ball on his hands. Will leave Iowa as career leader in receptions and yardage. Plays his best in biggest games. Plays hurt and has leadership potential, seems to be well liked by teammates. Could have potential as a returner. Biggest flaw may be effort in blocking consistency. I think this has improved. Games scouts will be watching 9/18 Arizona, 10/2 vs. Penn State, 10/30 vs. Michigan State, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: With a full season of health I think DJK has the potential to put up numbers like Iowa fans are not accustomed to- 70+ catches, 1000 yards and 10+ TDs, With a running mate like McNutt opposing secondary’s will not be able to roll coverage to him and he as the ability to beat any corner he will face this season. I project him to be a late 2nd to middle 3rd round selection.
Jeremiha Hunter WLB 6’2 235 SR: 2nd team Athlon and 2nd team Phil Steele. A box linebacker who is at his best playing downhill against the run. Knows his assignments and plays them well. Improved his pass coverage last season which is his perceived knock. Very physical and can be a punishing tackler. May be a natural ILB in a 3-4 scheme. If he takes another leap like last season in his pass cover skills could really improve his draft stock. Games scouts will be watching 9/11 vs. ISU, 10/16 vs. Michigan, 10/23 vs. Wisconsin, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: I think Hunter could project well in either scheme being played in the NFL and with the comments by the coaching staff following spring drills I expect a big season for him. I project him to go in the middle 3rd to middle 4th round.
Ricky Stanzi QB 6’4 230 SR: Phil Steele 2nd team and #11 overall QB. Has the physical tools and the size NFL teams covet. Great pocket awareness and very athletic for his size. I am sure he is taller than his listed size. I am not one that questions his arm strength, when his mechanics are right he can sling it with anyone. Exhibits great touch on intermediate and deep throws, could anticipate throws sooner and look off coverage better. Decision making and accuracy are sometimes issues. Great intangibles. Games scouts will be watching 9/18 vs. Arizona, 10/2 vs. Penn State, 10/23 vs. Wisconsin, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: I know I am biased, but I project him in the 2nd to 3rd round. Most of this hinges on Iowa’s success this season, but Stanzi does a lot of things right. If he can improve on a lot of his decision making and detail type of issues I can easily see him rising to the top of the second tier of QBs in the 2011 draft class.
Ryan Donahue P 6’3 190 SR: Has a huge leg but doesn’t often get a chance to show it because of the conservative nature of Iowa’s coaching staff. He might lead the nation in number of punts attempted inside the opponents 40. Rarely outkicks his coverage. Puts great hang-time on his punts. Is also a very athletic player at the position. Very good at deadening the ball inside the 20.
Spud’s spin: Donahue may be the only punter taken in this draft. The punter from UCLA has similar stats and I haven’t seen him play so I will hold off on that assessment for now. Punters generally aren’t taken high so I will project him to go middle 5th to late 6th. I think his value to a team could be higher than that.
Allen Reisner TE 6’3 248 SR: Reisner finally escapes the shadow of Tony Moeaki. Very steady performer in both phases of the game, excellent route runner, understands where holes are in zone coverages and sits in them. Great hands, good after the catch, very athletic- comparable to Brandon Myers. Is an above average blocker, doesn’t get the credit he deserves in this phase of the game. Probably will be viewed strictly as an “H” in the next level but I believe he could play on the line of scrimmage. Games scouts will be watching 10/2 vs. Penn State, 10/30 vs. Michigan State, 11/13 vs. Northwestern, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: If you start at tight end at Iowa under Kirk Ferentz you get drafted. Those are the facts-Austin Wheatley, Dallas Clark, Erik Jensen, Tony Jackson, Scott Chandler, Brandon Myers, and Tony Moeaki are the seven starters since 2000 and all have heard their name called on draft day. Reisner has a lot of game experience filling in for the oft- injured Moeaki and has played both the “Y” and the “H” spots very well his last two seasons. I see Reisner as my last “lock” going somewhere in the 6th round and possibly higher.
Karl Klug DT 6’3 270 SR: Phil Steele 2nd team, Lindy’s 2nd team, Athlon 1st team. This is where it gets hard for me. To me his is Mitch King only 3 inches taller. Ferocious motor, incredible off the snap, great with his hands, very good at pursing plays away from him. May get downgraded in some scouts’ eyes for playing between Clayborn and Ballard. The questions I have for NFL people are do you project him at DT or DE in a 4-3 or DE in a 3-4? Does Klug keep his weight up during the season, if he enters the season at 270 does he end it at 258? Games scouts will be watcing ISU 9/11, 10/23 vs. Wisconsin, 11/13 vs. Northwestern, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
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Spud’s Spin: I am going to project Klug going in the 5th to 7th round, but It is possible he could go undrafted. I do see him being at least a priority free agent.
Jeff Tarpinian MLB 6’3 238 SR: Phil Steel 3rd team. Tarpinian enters his fifth year with his first chance to start. He is very fast, very good in zone coverage and very good in one on one coverage. He has spent most of his time playing outside linebacker in Iowa’s 3-4 packages or as a SLB in the Nickel. He subbed for Hunter as the WLB vs. OSU and struggled a bit in run support. He looked very good in the spring game sifting through traffic and filling his hole. He was taking good angles to the ball. This may be his biggest question mark heading into the season, how will he stand up to power running games in the Big Ten? Does he have the strength and technique to shed lineman and make a play on the ballcarrier against power football? Can he sift through traffic and get to the ball carrier close to the line of scrimmage? Games scouts will be watching 10/2 vs. Penn State, 10/23 vs. Wisconsin, 10/30 vs. Michigan State, 11/20 vs. Ohio State.
Spud’s Spin: I am a big believer in Tarp. He has really flashed to me at times in his Iowa career. A lot of people forget he entered the OSU game playing on a bad wheel. I think he will have a senior year to remember if he can remain healthy. He is very strong in coverage and should project well to the next level as a special teamer and a cover linebacker at least. I will project him as a 6th round to 7th selection with it more likely he will be a priority free agent.
Brett Greenwood FS 6’0 200 SR: Athlon 1st team, Lindy’s 2nd team, Phil Steele 2nd team. I can’t think of a player who has improved more over the course of his career at Iowa more than Greenwood. Physically he has improved his speed and physicality. He has good instincts and is a very intelligent player. He isn’t always the prettiest tackler but almost always gets the job done. Could make a living as a special teamer and back-up for a Cover 2 team. Games scouts will be watching 9/18 vs. Arizona, 9/16 vs. Michigan, 9/23 vs. Wisconsin, 11/20 vs. Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: I project Greenwood to get drafted in the 6th to 7th round by a team like Indianapolis, or Chicago that needs safety depth and special teams help and runs the Cover 2. I think if a team that fits that profile has multiple late round picks it helps his chances. If he goes undrafted I am sure he will be a priority free agent. With a special season I would be willing to move him into my lock list.
Julian Vandervelde G 6’3 300 SR: No preseason lists that I could find. Vandervelde has fought nagging injuries throughout his career. Pretty good with his hands, good bender, not always explosive off the snap, can struggle identifying blitzers in pass protection, very good on the move. Sometimes plays too high initially and doesn’t always recover well if beaten initially. Has the more games started than rest of Iowa’s offensive line combined. If he remains healthy I think he will play with more consistency and team with Reiff to form a solid wall on the left side. It will help him to stay at one position (strictly Left Guard). May be the smartest player on the team and is surely the best singer. Games scouts will be watching 10/2 Penn State, 10/16 Michigan, 10/30 Michigan State, 11/20 Ohio State
Spud’s Spin: I am going to project Vandervelde to go undrafted but I do think he should be a priority free agent and should have a future with NFL teams possibly as a developmental center for teams running zone schemes. I think he could have a very good season and rise onto some teams draft boards, the key for him will be health and pass protection.
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Colin Sandeman WR 6’1 200 SR: No preseason lists. Sandeman is the first of the long-shots. In Iowa’s scheme it is tough for a player like him to put up the kind of stats to have a breakthrough season to draw attention. Sandeman is a decent returner who is pretty shifty but sometimes struggles with his decision making on when to catch the punt. He is a reliable receiver who rarely drops a pass, but has put the ball on the ground in big spots. He is coming off his best game as a pass catcher in the Orange Bowl. He is unquestionably the Hawk’s best blocker at the position and always in the game when Iowa is looking to salt the game away by pounding the ball. He possesses above average hands, good lateral quickness, great football IQ, and extreme toughness. He has struggled to stay on the field with multiple injuries. I don’t think he will get a combine invite. Iowa has a lot of receptions and yards to replace and he will be in the mix to replace them.
Spud’s Spin: I think Sandeman will have to go the try-out route. I think his best bet is to go to WR and special team starved teams and make an impression. He could also play in lesser leagues like the CFL, Arena or the UFL.
Don Nordmann 6’6 211 WR SR: Very good size, got some decent playing time last season, was the start of the spring scrimmage, is a very good blocker. Has above average hands. I am not sure if he has the agility to separate from defensive backs or if he can only use his frame to win. Haven’t seen enough of him to see what kind of a route runner he is.
Spud’s Spin: If he gets enough PT this season he has the size to at least get a try-out from a team lacking a size receiver. He could be a red-zone target specialist and special teamer.
Troy Johnson 6’2 235 LB SR: Athletic and smart enough to play all three spots for Iowa. Known best for coming in as the third teamer vs. Minnesota and winning DBTOW. Good speed, good recognition, good depth on zone drops. Not extremely physical, more of a drag-down tackler, needs to win a job to get more film for teams to evaluate him. Very good special teams player.
Spud’s Spin: If Johnson can beat out either Tarp or Bruce Davis for the Mike spot or Tyler Neilsen for the Leo he could sneak on to a team’s draft board but I think it is unlikely for this to happen. He could shine enough at Iowa’s pro day and on film for him to get try-outs with NFL teams’ and possibly stick after the Draft.
Josh Koeppel 6’2 273 C SR: Koeppel needs to beat out James Ferentz for the center job and then excel ala Rob Bruggeman, who went undrafted to have a chance. Koeppel has game experience but has never been the “man” . He would be undersized for an NFL center and he would have to have a dominating season to attract notice in his one year as a starter.
Spud’s Spin: I think it is unlikely that Koeppel will be on many teams boards entering the season. He has to beat out Ferentz first to even make this a possibility and then remain healthy which has been a big obstacle for him throughout his Iowa career. It is possible for him to do, just unlikely.
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Kyle Haganman 6’5 285 T/G SR: Haganman has yet to start a game and has only played in 11 games in his 3 years. Most of that is mop up duty. He was mentioned as a riser in the ’09 spring practice but has yet to really make a serious run a playing time. This is his last chance to win a job and I expect him to be in the mix for the Right Tackle and Right Guard in the Fall camp. If he doesn’t see significant PT he won’t get an opportunity. I honestly don’t know enough about him to say anything about him.
Spud’s Spin: I don’t expect him to crack the starting line up so I don’t foresee a future in professional football for Kyle.
The Underclassmen: I don’t think any of these guys are going to leave Iowa early. This is just in case.
Tyler Sash SS 6’1 210 JR: Extremely assignment sound, very instinctive, takes very good angles to the ball, very solid in run support, not a punishing tackler, more of a drag down or cut tackler, able to break down in space- very agile. Most evaluators don’t think Sash is fast but I think this is typical undervaluing an Iowa player’s athleticism because he is so well coached.
Spud’s Spin: If he were to leave I project him to go no later than the 2nd round. I think the 2nd is where he lands regardless of whether he is drafted in 2011 or 2012.
Marvin McNutt WR 6’4 215 JR: Uses his size extremely well like the basketball player that he was, very agile for his size, great hands, plays receiver like the quarterback that he was adeptly reading coverage and settling in open spots in zones, able to high point the ball on fade routes, very good with the ball in his hands, still learning the position- his best days are ahead of him. Won’t run an elite time on a 40 and sometimes struggled with press coverage.
Spud’s Spin: This is a loaded receiver draft class and again I would be shocked if McNutt left, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he went much higher than Hawk fans expect. Being a former QB McNutt should excel in the interview process, he is very good after the catch and will probably be the primary Red Zone weapon on a team that is primed to score a lot of points. I would project him no worse than the 3rd round and possibly higher. I think he should come back if that is his projection.
Broderick Binns 6’2 261 DE JR: 7’ Wingspan- 9 Passes defended last season 12th in the Big Ten last season and tied for 3rd in just passes broken up. Binns will be entering his second year as a starter and will probably make the leap that Clayborn made last season. He is probably Iowa’s best pure pass rusher. He could be stronger at the point of attack vs. the run, he can be washed out by tackles and bigger tight ends, rarely takes a bad angle to the QB, great motor and is very fast for the position. Should be stronger this season. May be locked into a 4-3 with his height but his arm length should negate that stereotype.
Spud’s Spin: If there is a position that is deeper than receiver, than it is end in the 2011 draft. Binns could put up monster numbers this season and not even make All Big Ten. I would project him no lower than 2nd round however if he were to leave. If he stays he should be a solid projected 1st round selection in ’12.
Shaun Prater 5’11 180 CB JR: Prater is entering his second year as a starter and his third year as a significant contributor to the defense. He was a surprise as a freshman to win a spot on the nickel and dime packages and played very well. Last season he played extremely well opposite of Amari Spievey. He is a very good pass defender, he possesses very good closing speed, reads routes well, has very good balance, is comfortable in press coverage, is a very good leaper, he isn’t the most physical corner- he could improve his tackling but he is a true junior. He has been raved about this spring by coaches and teammates.
Spud’s Spin: I think it is unlikely that Shaun would leave early. I think he could use the fourth year to work on technique and strength. He is still pretty skinny and seeing Spievey go in the third round might influence him to finish his eligibility.
Riley Reiff 6’6 300 LT SO: Reiff has already taken his red- shirt so he is technically draft eligible after this season. I wouldn’t normally even include him but he was so outstanding last season he deserves a mention. Reiff actually outperformed Bulaga on the field at Left Tackle last season. Of course Bulaga was never really in prime football shape but still that is saying something for a kid thrown into the fire as a red shirt freshman. “The Next One” will have his hands full versus elite ends Cameron Heyward, Ricky Elmore, and Jack Crawford. If he holds up and dominates in the run game the lack of top end talent at this position could have NFL people in his ear.
Spud’s Spin: I think the odd’s of a R. Sophomore leaving Iowa under Ferentz’s tenure are 10,000 to 1. However if Vegas gave me those odds I might throw $50 down on this kid’s talent. If he were to leave I would project him into the 1st round if he performed as well as last season.