Hawkeye Football | Predicting Which Hawkeyes Get Drafted in 2012
Now that the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books it's never too early to look at which Hawkeyes could potentially be drafted in next year's draft. Iowa has been on an unprecedented roll of Hawkeyes getting selected into the league. The last two seasons 12 players have had their name called in the draft. Six players each of the last two years is also the most of any Big Ten team for both the '10 and '11 NFL drafts.
So, who will the scouts be watching this Fall as the Hawkeyes take the field?
Will be a three year starter on the offensive line and will likely leave the program early. As a sophomore Reiff earned second team all-Big Ten honors and was named first team by Sports Illustrated. Reiff will more than likely be named to preseason all-Big Ten teams and possibly a handful of award preseason watch lists.
Returned to Iowa after rumors of possibly testing the draft as a junior. Prater has started since 2009 at corner and earned first team all-Big Ten honors his junior season. Prater has 120 career tackles and six interceptions entering his senior season.
Draftsite.com has Prater pegged as a late second rounder, the 59th pick.
Daniels emerged as a starter for the Hawkeyes in 2010. He bumped former Hawk Christian Ballard from defensive tackle to defensive end while fellow senior Broderick Binns became the 5th man in the rotation. Daniels has a non-stop motor and uses his short frame and reported strongest-guy-on-the-team muscle to get a big push up the middle.
Draftsite.com has Daniels listed as the second Hawkeye off of next year's draft board. In fact, he is penciled in their mock draft as a second rounder, the 56th pick. I think the NFL may be a little bit concerned about his actual height (he is listed at 6'1" but is he?), and they may drop him down the draft board.
McNutt came to Iowa as a quarterback and gradually transformed into a wide receiver. He has had reportedly the best hands on the team the last two seasons and displayed those hands famously on a quick slant against Michigan State in 2009. With the departure of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, McNutt will be the number one option for the Hawkeye offense in 2011.
Draftsite.com lists McNutt as a third round choice, the 67th pick. The knock on Marvin has been his speed but his hands and size make him a valuable asset to any quarterback. He'll need to continue to work on getting separation off the line and be an outstanding route runner.
If Keenan Davis can become the effective receiver on the opposite side of the field it will only help McNutt's statistics in 2011. I'd put McNutt as a 4th to 5th round draft pick that may move up with a strong senior showing or a faster than predicted combine 40 time.
Zusevics replaced Kyle Calloway at right tackle in 2010 and started all 13 games for Iowa. Reiff will get all the pub but don't discount the job done on the right side of the line. Zusevics has downplayed his past volleyball days (and perhaps rightfully so, he was about 100 lighter then) but he has good feet and scouts will notice. Those feet may be his greatest benefit as some scouts may see a guard in Zusevics allowing him some flexibility in the draft.
History tells us that Zusevics will be drafted. Both Kyle Calloway and Julian Vandervelde were drafted in the 7th and 6th round of the '10 and '11 draft. I believe that is the range for Zusevics, 6th to 7th round.
Gettis might surprise some folks this season. He's earned playing time in spot duty since his redshirt freshman year. His career has been marred with injuries preventing him from finishing a full season at guard. This is his last shot and he'll be part of what should be a solid veteran Big Ten offensive line.
He has improved greatly since his first start against Northern Iowa in 2009. He'll need to show continued improvement in 2011 and he'll have to prove he can make it through a full season and avoid the injury bug if he wants a shot at the NFL.
A solid senior season and perhaps he is a 6th to 7th round pick, my bet is free agency.
Nielsen took the starting spot at outside linebacker in 2010 until a broken neck against MSU ended his season. He was back practicing with limited contact this Spring and should be ready to go when the season kicks off. Prior to his injury in '10 Nielsen recorded 42 tackles with 4.5 of them coming for a loss.
Nielsen displays a load of athleticism for his size. The rangy 6'4" linebacker can cover and stuff the run. His injury to his neck may be a concern to NFL scouts and if he wants to have a career in the NFL it will be thoroughly inspected by doctors.
This is a tough prediction. Former Hawkeye AJ Edds went in the 4th round to the Miami Dolphins in the 2010 draft. Nielsen has similar but not-quite-Edds-like ability to cover the slot. Plus there is the previous injury history. I'd like to predict a 5th round pick here but at this time I'll slot Nielsen as a free agent signee.
Most of Herman's playing time while at Iowa has been on special teams and in 2010 playing the second tight end spot behind Allen Reisner. Herman has more size than Reisner (6'3" 245) and is considered the better blocker of the two. In 2011 Herman will have the opportunity to both show Iowa fans and scouts around the nation what he can do.
Allen Reisner wasn't drafted in the 2011 NFL draft but is considered one of the top five tight ends still available for post draft free agency (if this ever happens). That's important because Reisner broke the streak of senior Hawkeye tight ends being selected on draft day but he still may have a shot at an NFL roster.
Reisner had a poor showing at the NFL combine and at 6'3" 245 is on the small side for an NFL tight end (unless you run a 4.4 40 yard dash). Herman's blocking ability and size will find him an NFL roster. Unless he runs a 5.0 40 yard dash or has a poor senior year I'd predict Herman a 6th or 7th round pick.
Draftsite.com lists Binns as a very late compensatory pick. Physically he is a tweener. He is undersized (6'2") for a defensive end and not heavy enough for the inside tackle positions (260 lbs). Binns uses his long arms and is effective getting separation from the offensive lineman or batting down quick passes.
If he can run a middle of the pack or higher forty time for his position at the combine or on Pro Day he may be considered for a 3-4 defense. I'd put Binns as a 7th round pick or Free Agent signing following the draft.