As Hawkeye fans we expected a lot of our favorite Hawkeyes to be selected in this years NFL draft. Coach Ferentz graduated one of his largest senior classes and the NFL came calling for six of those seniors. Here is a recap of who was drafted and links about where they are heading:
The All-American was the first Hawkeye off the board Thursday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected AC in the first round with the 20th pick. Clayborn became the 5th Hawkeye selected in the first round since 2003. AC told ESPN's Suzy Kobler that "“Tampa is where I wanted to be, and I’m glad I got to them, and I’m glad they picked me. I can’t wait to be a Buc.”
The second Hawkeye off the board was another defensive lineman. Christian Ballard was selected in the fourth round, 106th overall, by the Minnesota Vikings. He becomes the 41st Kirk Ferentz coached player selected in an NFL draft. Ballard played both defensive end and defensive tackle during his time at Iowa. NFL analyst Charles Davis wonders “Christian Ballard, with the concerns at tackle, also the concerns at end, where does he fit?”
Ballard was predicted to be drafted as high as the late first round to early second round. That was before news emerged that Ballard had tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said “Let me tell you one thing about Christian Ballard: he had second-round grades from the entire league. The reason he slid was for a recent off-the-field issue. That’s why the slide.”
America's quarterback landed not far from Hawkeye country. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Stanzi in the fifth round, 135th overall. Stanzi is the first Iowa quarterback to be drafted since Matt Rodgers in 1992. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock believes “I think it’s an excellent pick.” Mel Kiper added "I like this kid."
The fourth Hawkeye selected in the 2011 NFL draft is another defensive player and third defensive lineman selected. In the fifth round the Tennessee Titans made Klug the 142nd pick of the draft. Klug becomes the eighth Hawkeye defensive lineman coached by Ferentz to be drafted into the NFL.
Another coach Ferentz offensive lineman was drafted this year, this one in the sixth round. The Philadelphia Eagles selected Julian Vandervelde with the 142nd pick of the draft. ESPN's Todd McShay had this to say, “Quick off the ball, very well-coached there as most Iowa offensive linemen are."
Sash became the sixth Hawkeye drafted when the New York Giants selected him in the sixth round with the 198th pick. NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said of Sash what Hawkeye fans already knew, “All I know is this kid had made plays.” Sash left Iowa with a year of eligibility left to test the NFL waters. Some pundits had him as possibly a third rounder, the Giants were happy to snatch Sash in the sixth round.