Hawks Closer to Draft History

April 30, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Six Iowa football players were drafted  this year, marking the second straight year where six former Hawkeyes heard their names called in the annual NFL restocking program. Six happens to be the school record for most the Hawks taken in a seven round draft.

Iowa is closing in on some more history and that is the most players drafted from one ‘team’.

At present, that record is 21 and consists of players that were members of the 1985 Iowa football team, including players that redshirted that year and did not see any action. The 2001 Iowa football team is next with 20.

Following the 2008 season and Iowa’s victory over South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, I wrote that I felt that 2008 roster would wind up with more players taken in the NFL than any in Iowa history. I wrote about it here last year at this link, in addition to taking some stabs at where I felt players like Ricky Stanzi, Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard and others would be selected. The article was written on February 7th, 2010.

Here is where that 2008 Roster stands right now with regards to players drafted, listed below by draft year:

2009: 4
2010: 6
2011: 6

So with three draft classes in the books and two more waiting in the wings from players that were a part of that 2008 roster, it’s just five drafted players shy of tying the 1985 team for the most drafted prospects for any one Iowa roster.

At this point, it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that the 2008 roster will establish a new record. I guess you might be able to call it the most talented roster in modern Iowa football history. I supposed you could debate that, but remember that team finished 9-4 and each of its four losses came by three points or less. Had Iowa been able to settle on a quarterback from the outset, who knows what might have happened.

Iowa has lost 11 games between 2008 to present, with none of those losses by more than seven points. So yeah, its safe to say this program has been riding a talent crest unlike any in school history, although the recruiting rankings Iowa received when these players were signees would not have ‘predicted’ such results.

So how badly will the 2008 roster ‘break the record’? Let’s take a look at the seniors and juniors to be, the players that will count towards that record. NOTE: True juniors to be do not count towards this total, as they were not on the roster in 2008, thus Micah Hyde and Keenan Davis will not be a part of these projections as they arrived on campus in 2009.

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SENIORS TO BE

Marvin McNutt: It’s been a while since an Iowa wide receiver was drafted…you have to go back to Kahlil Hill in the 6th round of the 2002 Draft. McNutt, should he stay healthy this coming year, will likely snap that streak. As of now, I’d put him 4th round at best, likely 5th or 6th.

Adam Gettis: Julian Vandervelde played his way into a 5th round pick in this year’s draft. In my opinion, when Gettis has been healthy he has shown more upside than Vandervelde ever got to. However, he is going to need an injury free 2011 and put a few more pounds on his 280-pound frame. I’d say undrafted free agent right now with a chance to play his way into a late round pick.

Markus Zusevics: 6-5/290 is a good place to start. He looked good at times last year and like Gettis has a shot to play his way into the league. Undrafted free agent to late round pick.

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Brad Herman: At 6-5/250, he has a nice frame for a tight end. While not the threat in the passing game Allen Reisner was, he is emerging in that area and he is a better blocker than Reisner. Reisner is the first starting tight end at Iowa under Kirk Ferentz to not get drafted. I can see Herman like an Erik Jensen; someone that gets picked in the late rounds and is used as an ‘H’ back at the next level due to his blocking abilities.

Shaun Prater: Like McNutt, Prater returned to Iowa for his senior season after flirting with the NFL early entrant decision. It looks like he made the the right call, as the 10th cornerback was taken in the 5th round in this year’s draft. Next year, he will have a chance to add another layer of film to his resume and I’d peg him as a 3rd or 4th rounder right now.

Mike Daniels: If he has another year in 2011 like he did in 2010, he can play his way into a 3rd or 4th round selection if not higher. 6-1/275 might be his biggest obstacle, as he is definitely a three-technique player at this point in time and doesn’t have the bulk to play the nose effectively in a 3-4 scheme. Would be a much better fit as a three-technique in 4-3, which is where I am basing my value projection. If the 4-3 were the prevailing scheme in the league, the third round would seem more likely.

Broderick Binns: Time for Binns to have a monster season. First, his team could use it and second, he’ll need to prove that he can be a consistently disruptive force off the edge against the pass. He has shown flashes of that and has been disruptive in the passing lanes, but at this point in time I’d have to say undrafted free agent, pending his 2011 performance.

Tyler Nielsen: I cannot overstate the impact his injury had on the Iowa defense over the last five games he missed with his neck injury. He filled in for AJ Edds, who was the best LEO of the Ferentz era. Nielsen has a chance to be second best behind Edds and he went in the 4th round to Miami a year ago. I’ll say Nielsen is a 5th rounder next year.

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Jordan Bernstine: He has to do a lot this year. First, he has to win a starting position, then stay healthy, then have a monster season in order to get an invite to the NFL combine. IF he gets to the combine, I think he has a chance to turn some heads as he is fast and built like a truck. However, there are a lot of if’s in this paragraph, to many to warrant anything other than an undrafted free agent label at this time.

JUNIORS TO BE

Riley Reiff: I recall being seated at a table having dinner with a few people, including Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, in the spring of 2009. The conversation turned to what Steve Deace and I were talking about on the radio that day, namely our opinion that Bryan Bulaga would probably turn pro and forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Ferentz quipped ‘I think I just lost my appetite.’ It was a funny moment, but Kirk has forgotten more about the NFL than I will ever know so he knew what was coming. I think the same could be said for Riley Reiff, however it isn’t as easy to predict as it was for Bulaga and that has nothing to do with his talent, because I think Reiff might be better than Bulaga was at the same age, rather it has everything to do with whatever agreement the NFL works out with its players in the coming months. The market factors were right for Bulaga to come out; they might not be as favorable to juniors next year. We’ll have to see. Right now, I’d say Reiff would be a 2nd or 3rd rounder next year with a legit chance to play his way into a first round pick in the 2012 draft.

James Vandenberg: I have said this for the past two years; he has a better tool box than Ricky Stanzi…bigger arm, more zip, throws well across his body…however, is he the kind of leader Stanzi is? Vandenberg is all potential right now and it’s impossible to say confidently that he will get drafted in 2013..we’ll write about that next year.

James Ferentz: 6-2/275, he is a bit undersized for the next level. So was Casey Wiegeman, who seems like he is entering his 20th year in the league right now. James is better at the same age than his brother Brian, who went undrafted. James has a chance to be a three year starter and has room to get better.

One thing has come to mind as I went through the junior to be class…there are so many unknowns for Iowa as they head into this season, that is obvious. It’s also clear that this program has lost a TON of talent, as the draft numbers bear out, and those diamonds in the rough that Iowa has become known for really need to step up this year and next for the program to keep this stretch of success going.

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