IOWA CITY, Iowa - Chauncey Golston was the lone Iowa Football player selected during the first two days of the NFL Draft. Saturday, three of his former teammates joined him in hearing their names called.
Receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette came off the board when the Minnesota Vikings selected him with the 13th pick of the fifth round, the 157th pick overall. He became the highest Iowa player drafted at the position in coach Kirk Ferentz's 22 years leading the program, topping Kevin Kasper and Marvin McNutt, both sixth-rounders.
One pick after Smith-Marsette, the Carolina Panthers chose Hawkeye defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon with pick 158. The Los Angeles Chargers made linebacker Nick Niemann the first selection of Round 6, the 185th overall.
Smith-Marsette's 28.7-yard career average on kickoff returns ranks second all-time in the Big Ten. The New Jersey native's career totals include 1,520 kickoff returns yards, 1,615 receiving yards and 274 rushing yards, ranking him 10th in Hawkeye history with 3,409 career all-purpose yards.
Nixon Started all eight games at defensive tackle in '20, recording 45 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, with one forced fumble and one pass break-up. The Wisconsin product was a first-team All-America by Associated Press, Sporting News, FWAA, AFCA, Walter Camp, ESPN, The Athletic and Phil Steele. He was named Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Smith-Brown Big Ten Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Niemann ranked fourth in the Big Ten in tackles per game (9.6) during '20. He earned third-team All-Big Ten laurels from league coaches.
Eight more Hawkeyes reportedly signed un-drafted free agents deals. Shaun Beyer (Denver), Mekhi Sargent (Tennessee), Brandon Smith (Dallas), Alaric Jackson (LA Rams), Cole Banwart (Tennessee), Jack Heflin (Green Bay), Barrington Wade (Baltimore) and Coy Cronk (Green Bay) were inked.