Draft notes: Ex-Hawk DeVries on Stafford; NFL Network’s Mayock on Shonn Greene

April 29, 2009
Detroit's Jared DeVries (95) tips Chicago Bears kicker Paul Edinger's field-goal attempt in the second quarter in Detroit on Nov. 9, 2003. The field-goal attempt was no good. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit's Jared DeVries (95) tips Chicago Bears kicker Paul Edinger's field-goal attempt in the second quarter in Detroit on Nov. 9, 2003. The field-goal attempt was no good. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Former Iowa All-American Jared DeVries has seen many a savior come and go during his 11-year career with the Detroit Lions.

DeVries, a 32-year-old defensive end, was present the last time Detroit played in the postseason in 1999. He was there when the franchise hired — and later fired — president and general manager Matt Millen. He also was there in 2002 when the Lions drafted Oregon quarterback Joey “Blue Skies” Harrington and four wide receivers in the first round of five successive drafts.

The Lions now are on their seventh coach in DeVries’ tenure, second-longest on the team. The team picked first in last weekend’s NFL draft by virtue of its historic 0-16 season in 2008. So, that background also should give DeVries an open microphone for cynicism about his team. Instead, he chose optimism.

Detroit picked Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall. Stafford signed a six-year contract worth up to $78 million in incentives, including $41.7 million in guaranteed money. That’s the largest guarantee in NFL history. DeVries told the Detroit Free Press that drafting Stafford made sense.

“It’s a good pick,” DeVries said. “Everybody felt we were going in that direction. You never know until draft day, and hopefully he’ll be a good quarterback for us.”

DeVries, however, joined the multitude of veteran players displeased with Stafford’s deal.

“”I think we as players kind of messed up, and we need to fix the system,” said DeVries, who reportedly will earn $1.3 million this  year. “Rookies are getting paid entirely too much without playing a down in the NFL.”

DeVries suffered a broken left hand in the Lions’ ninth game against Jacksonville. He sat out one game, then returned only to re-break it against Tampa Bay. He had season-ending surgery two days later.

Iowa's Jared DeVries haunts Wisconsin quarterback Mike Samuel (10) and brings him down for a 6-yard loss in the first quarter. DeVries had three sacks costing the Badgers 18 yards on Oct. 24, 1998.

Iowa's Jared DeVries haunts Wisconsin quarterback Mike Samuel (10) and brings him down for a 6-yard loss in the first quarter. DeVries had three sacks costing the Badgers 18 yards on Oct. 24, 1998.

DeVries, a former Aplington-Parkersburg all-state running back

, had 45 tackles, two sacks, defended four passes and recovered one fumble last year in 10 games — all starts. He had his best season in 2007, when he started 14 games, recorded 54 tackles, notching 6.5 sacks, recovered and forced three fumbles and notched one safety.

MAYOCK ON GREENE

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said former Iowa running back Shonn Greene has a solid opportunity to play this season for the New York Jets. The Jets moved up 11 spots in the third round and traded three picks with Detroit to select Greene with the third round’s first pick.

“I had him late (round) two,  mid three, so that’s about where I thought he’d go,” Mayock said. “I think it’s pretty exciting for him, growing up in New Jersey and now being  joined at the hip with (top draft pick quarterback) Mark Sanchez. I think that’s an exciting opportunity.”

Greene, 23, could step in and play right away with the Jets. Starting running back Thomas Jones, 31, rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, but is sitting out all off-season workouts.

“I think what (drafting Greene) does is provide them with an insurance policy,” Mayock said. “Thomas Jones is getting older and wants a new contract. Ultimately, I think (Greene’s) a really good fit with Leon Washington.”

Last year Greene won the Doak Walker Award, which annually is given to the nation’s best running back. He was a consensus All-American and rushed for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was the fifth running back selected in the draft.


Stanzi sports different look this spring

April 28, 2009
Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe gives instructions to quarterback Ricky Stanzi during the third quarter of the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. Iowa beat South Carolina, 31-10. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe gives instructions to quarterback Ricky Stanzi during the third quarter of the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. Iowa beat South Carolina, 31-10. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Within seconds of his team’s final spring football practice, Iowa quarterback Rick Stanzi showed a new side of himself.

Yes, like most veteran Iowa football players, he spouted coached-up cliches about working hard every day, competition and trying to get better. But he had a new look to him as well.

Gone is the flopping hair that Stanzi wore throughout the 2008 season. Stanzi, a current sophomore, now features a trim haircut.

“I think it’s more of a comfort thing,” Stanzi said. “I was saying I was going to grow my hair out for the season. And the next thing you know you flip a switch in your head and you say, ‘Ah, I’ll just cut it. It’s just better this way.'”

In the Hawkeyes’ final spring scrimmage, Stanzi was fairly sharp. Unofficially, he completed 6 of 12 passes during team competition for 91 yards. Stanzi — whether it was intentional or he was smooth through his reads — appeared to throw toward his primary option in all but one of passes.

“Rick certainly improved this spring,” Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe said. “From his leadership ability to making decisions at the line of scrimmage to getting us in to the right types of plays and getting the ball where it’s supposed to go, most importantly as well. So he took advantage of each and every one of the 15 workouts that we had and took his job seriously and really came away a better player.”

Stanzi started 11 games last year. He completed 150 of 254 passes for 1,956 yards and 14 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions but finished fourth in the Big Ten in passer efficiency.

In the offseason he’s watched tape on multiple NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Cassel and tried to emulate some of their performances. But more importantly, Stanzi has tried to refine his game entering his junior season.

Stanzi ran 56 times last year for a net of 20 yards, which also was his longest run. He often scattered from the pocket if his primary receiver was covered.

“If there’s one thing that I really tried to work on it was probably be comfortable in the pocket,” Stanzi said. “It’s kind of hard to not practice that when you don’t have the line in front of you, and you’re in 7-on-7 drills. You try to soak up each rep that you get when you’ve got a full rush coming on and it’s not always easy. But it’s something, watching film and practicing as much as you can in the offseason, I hope to fix and so I can sit in the pocket and make better decisions and be more sure with my feet.”

When addressing the media, Stanzi now seems more confident when talking about his role. He sticks to the successful concepts of hard work, improvement and consistency. But, according to Coach Kirk Ferentz, he’s added one more successful trait this offseason.

The most growth I’ve seen from him, and this started before we started spring practice, is just in the leadership realm,” Ferentz said. “But that’s what you expect again from a guy who has played and has got the confidence of actually playing on the field and has had some success. So the next step for me, especially at that position, is grow to a leadership role, and I think he’s done that. The players really respect what he does, how he works and his toughness.”

James Vandenberg

James Vandenberg

Stanzi clearly is the starter, but he faces competition from incoming red-shirt freshmen James Vandenberg and John Wienke. Unofficially, Vandenberg completed 8 of 10 passes in the scrimmage for 132 yards.

Vandenberg clearly completed four of five passes to primary receivers, but had the same ratio to second- and third-option receivers as well. Wienke struggled a bit, completing three of seven passes for 34 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

Stanzi is no stranger to competition at Iowa. About 14 months ago he was locked in with three other quarterbacks, including incumbent Jake Christensen, entering spring practice. Since then, Christensen and Arvell Nelson either have transferred or will transfer and Marvin McNutt was shifted to wide receiver.

“You’re always competing,” Stanzi said. “That’s the only way anyone can get better.”

Iowa quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi (12) and John Wienke (14) workout during the team's practice March 25, 2009 at the Kenyon Football Practice Facility in Iowa City.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Iowa quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi (12) and John Wienke (14) workout during the team's practice March 25, 2009 at the Kenyon Football Practice Facility in Iowa City. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)


Agent: Calls overwhelming after draft about King

April 27, 2009
Iowa's Mitch King shouts as he addresses the crowd during the Hawkeye Huddle at the Tampa Convention Center on Dec. 30, 2008, in Tampa, Fla. At right is Gary Dolphin. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)t

Iowa's Mitch King shouts as he addresses the crowd during the Hawkeye Huddle at the Tampa Convention Center on Dec. 30, 2008, in Tampa, Fla. At right is Gary Dolphin. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — An abormally high volume of calls came in moments after the draft for former Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King, according to his agent, Richard Rosa.

“We weren’t dealing with scouts,” Rosa said. “We were dealing with coaches, general managers … at least two team presidents called him personally and said, ‘That’s a guy we have to have.’ There was tremendous interest for him.”

“I can’t deny that there were teams lining up. He had an unbelievable amount of interest from teams. Ultimately, Mitch got to pick the spot.”

Rosa said King chose Tennessee because he felt most comfortable with defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who is known for his fiery temperment.

“The bottom line is Mitch King is a tremendous football player,” Rosa said. “One day he’ll have his day and he’ll say, ‘I told you so.'”

One day after Mitch King was left unwanted by NFL officials, one draft analyst said the slight might benefit King in the long run.

“He was much better off going undrafted than it would have been to go in the sixth or seventh round,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock on Monday. “At least he had an opportunity to make some decisions as to where he wanted to go.”

Illinois' quarterback Eddie McGee (10) lets go of the ball as he is hit by Iowa's Mitch King (47) during the second half Oct. 13, 2007 at Kinnick Stadium.  Iowa beat No. 18 Illinois 10-6. (AP Photo/Brian Ray)

Illinois' quarterback Eddie McGee (10) lets go of the ball as he is hit by Iowa's Mitch King (47) during the second half Oct. 13, 2007 at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa beat No. 18 Illinois 10-6. (AP Photo/Brian Ray)

The Tennessee Titans signed King, 22, Sunday night to a free-agent deal. Most draft experts expected King, a Burlington native, to be drafted anywhere from rounds three through five. Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Services LLC., listed King as the fourth-best defensive tackle and a third-round pick. The Sporting News listed King as a fifth-round selection.

“Boy he could slip as far as six, but it would surprise me,” Shonka said before the draft. “You’re talking about (rounds) three to four and if he fell below that, it’s really a bonus to some team. He’s a third-, fourth-round caliber player.”

King ranks among the most productive defensive players in Iowa football history. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He had 15.5 tackles for loss last year, including four sacks. He had 54 tackles, six quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He was named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and first-team All-American by ESPN. He also was Iowa’s co-MVP and named a permanent team captain.

But King’s size seemed to concern most NFL teams. He stands 6 feet, 1 inch and weighs 280 pounds. For most teams, he’s too light to play defensive tackle, too big to play linebacker and not explosive enough to play defensive end.

“Whether it’s fair or not, he’s perceived as a tweener,” Mayock said. “You compare him, for instance, to a (Iowa cornerback) Bradley Fletcher, who had much less production, was nowhere near the player at Iowa. But when the NFL takes a look at those two players, Bradley Fletcher gets overdrafted because he’s a height, weight, speed guy, fits all the numbers they’re looking for and despite all of Mitch’s production, NFL teams look at him and say. ‘Where do we play him?'”

Tennessee might be the ultimate beneficiary. The Titans finished with the NFL’s best record last year at 13-3 but lost All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in free agency. The Titans are unsettled at defensive tackle and have multiple players with King’s dimensions at the position.

“We were surprised when he went undrafted,” Titans scout Mike Ackerley said. “Mitch is a high-energy, high-motor player. He is aggressive at the defensive tackle spot and a really good football player.”

King was one of eight Iowa players getting an NFL opportunity. Fletcher and running back Shonn Greene were drafted in the third round by St. Louis and the New York Jets, respectively. Denver drafted guard Seth Olsen in the fourth round by Denver, while Oakland picked tight end Brandon Myers in the sixth. Center Rob Bruggeman (Tampa Bay), defensive tackle Matt Kroul (New York Jets) and wide receiver Andy Brodell (Green Bay) all signed free-agent deals.

Mayock said King might benefit from playing with a group of veteran player and King might compare favorably with Tennessee’s other rookies at defensive tackle.

“Tennessee took a defensive tackle late in the second round, a kid out of Auburn, named Sen’Derrick Marks,” Mayock said. “And to be honest with you, he’s another one of those height, weight guys. He looks good, but I thought came out a year early. And he’s a kid that is inconsistent, whereas Mitch King will show up at every practice with an attitude.

“I really believe Mitch King, whether it’s this year or next year, will find a way on to an NFL roster.”


Draft analysis, expectations of Iowa players

April 27, 2009

After months of 40-yard dash times and answering questions about their favorite animals, eight former Iowa football players finally learned their career destination on Sunday.

A few Iowa players, like third-round picks running back Shonn Greene and cornerback Bradley Fletcher, virtually are locks to contribute on NFL rosters this fall. Free agents like defensive tackle Matt Kroul and wide receiver Andy Brodell face an up-hill climb to make a squad.

Either way, all of the players have an opportunity to play on Sundays. Here’s a look at how the eight players fit in with their NFL club and their chances of making the team:

SHONN GREENE, RB, THIRD ROUND, NEW YORK JETS

The Jets gave up their third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to Detroit to move up 11 spots and draft Greene with the third round’s first pick. Greene gives the Jets a dose of toughness at running back that’s desired under new defensive-minded Coach Rex Ryan.

“His vision is the thing that jumped at you,” Ryan told reporters. “And he’s a big man, close to 230 pounds. That’s what it takes in this league. He can run through arm tackles and he can see the hole and he hits it. He’s a downhill runner.”

ANALYSIS: Greene likely will back up starter Thomas Jones, who rushed for 1,312 and 13 touchdowns last year, and alternate with speedster Leon Washington to start the season. By midseason Greene – barring injury – will become the feature back in the Jets’ new smash-mouth offensive scheme.

BRADLEY FLETCHER, CB, THIRD ROUND, ST. LOUIS RAMS

One pick after the Jets tabbed Greene, St. Louis snagged Fletcher, who will compete with Justin King, Jonathan Wade, Tye Hill at others at cornerback. Fletcher’s size (6-1, 196) is comparable to other Rams’ cornerbacks.

“He fits well for what we’re going to ask those guys to do,” new Rams Coach Steve Spagnuolo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

ANALYSIS: Fletcher will have every opportunity to start for the Rams, who finished 2-14 last year. The Rams have a new coach, which means the slate is clean for Fletcher and his fellow cornerbacks. He’ll fit immediately on special teams.

SETH OLSEN, G, FOURTH ROUND, DENVER BRONCOS

Olsen played multiple positions at Iowa, and the Broncos apparently noticed. Olsen’s versatility will aid him as new coach Josh McDaniels tries to find a fit for his zone-blocking scheme. Olsen, who has played guard and tackle at Iowa, might even fit into a position he’s never played before getting selected.

“Seth is a player that will learn how to snap the ball and play center once he’s here,” McDaniels told reporters.

ANALYSIS: Olsen is a polished product in a zone-blocking scheme. That’s a coveted commodity by many offensive line coaches, who often have to deal with linemen in two-point stances from spread offenses. Look for him to challenge for playing time this year and settle into a position by his second or third season.

BRANDON MYERS, TE, 6TH ROUND, OAKLAND RAIDERS

The Raiders traded two picks to get Myers, who will compete with at least three tight ends this year. Myers is well-versed in Raiders Coach Tom Cable’s zone-blocking scheme after working in a similar system at Iowa.

ANALYSIS: Myers will get a shot to become the Raiders’ designated blocker and No. 2 tight end behind Zach Miller this year. Myers already has proven he can catch the ball, so if he can handle the blocking responsibilities of an NFL tight end, he’ll get to play early and often in Raiderland.

ROB BRUGGEMAN, C, FREE AGENT, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Bruggeman became Iowa’s offensive leader with his leadership and solid play during the season. The Buccaneers have two seventh-year centers from Notre Dame. Jeff Faine is the starter at 291 pounds. Bruggeman, considered light by many analysts, weighs 293.

ANALYSIS: Bruggeman, a Cedar Rapids native, is a late bloomer after suffering multiple knee injuries early in his Iowa career. His skills and experience in a zone-blocking scheme seemed suited for the NFL, and he’s going to make a roster at some point this fall. He may not survive final cuts, but he’ll easily land on a practice squad and find his way on to a roster by midseason.

MATT KROUL, DT, FREE AGENT, NEW YORK JETS

Kroul started 50 consecutive games at Iowa and has parlayed that consistency into a free-agent deal. Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum declared today on ESPN Radio that his team is “the land of opportunity” for free agents after drafting just three players this weekend.

ANALYSIS: Kroul, who hails from Mount Vernon, is a hard-working, tough player that will compete for a backup role. The Jets have just two returning starters along the defensive line from last year, and both are older than 30. With new coach Rex Ryan using multiple defensive schemes, Kroul will have a 50-50 shot to make the roster. If he doesn’t land on the team, he’s virtually guaranteed to make a practice team.

MITCH KING, DT, FREE AGENT, TENNESSEE TITANS

Perhaps the biggest surprise locally from this weekend’s draft was King not getting selected. Most draft analysts had King picked between rounds three and five. Although King is a “tweener” in size — standing 6 feet, 2 inches and weighing about 280, he made enough plays in college to earn second-team All-American honors. He’s a rowdy, fiery leader who makes plays.

ANALYSIS: King goes to a defensive-minded team that lost its best player — DT Albert Haynesworth — and always looks to upgrade. It’s tough to say if he’ll make the Titans, which finished the regular season with the NFL’s best record, but he’ll end up on somebody’s roster next September.

ANDY BRODELL, WR, FREE AGENT, GREEN BAY PACKERS

Brodell had a talented, yet oft-injured, career at Iowa. He started bits and pieces of three seasons at wide receiver and when healthy was a force. He totaled more than 900 all-purpose yards last year, including an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown against Iowa State. He does offer versatility after playing running back in high school and receiver in college.

ANALYSIS: In order to make the Packers’ roster, Brodell needs to impress the special teams coaches. That includes returning and covering kicks. Brodell has enough skills to shift to defensive back if required. He faces a tough climb to make a Packers’ roster that features five returning players from a year ago. But he’s got a good chance to make the team’s practice squad with a good, injury-free camp.


Head coaches calls seal deal for Kroul, Bruggeman

April 26, 2009

Two former Iowa football players with local ties signed free-agent contracts with a pair of NFL teams shortly after the draft concluded Sunday night.

Cedar Rapids native and former Iowa center Rob Bruggeman signed a free-agent deal with Tampa Bay. Mount Vernon native and former Iowa tackle Matt Kroul signed with the New York Jets.

Former Iowa wide receiver Andy Brodell, who hails from Ankeny, signed a free-agent contract with Green Bay. Multiple news outlets report defensive tackle Mitch King has signed with the Tennessee Titans. But neither King nor his agent, Richard Rosa, confirm a deal as of late Sunday night. An assistant in Rosa’s office said King and Rosa were still working on a contract late Sunday night.

Bruggeman, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 293 pounds, fielded several calls from teams immediately following the draft. Bruggeman spoke with both head coach Raheem Morris and offensive line coach Pete Mangurian before picking Tampa Bay.

“I really liked their offensive line coach (Mangurian) when I was down at the combine, and I liked the way he handled himself, how he talked to me,” Bruggeman said. “He seemed like a guy with integrity. I really liked him. Their head coach seems like a guy I could really get along with, too. So it’s exciting to go down there and just have an opportunity to compete.”

Bruggeman, 23, started all 13 games for Iowa last year and was named a permanent team captain. He said he made the decision after speaking with agent Jack Bechta, who then guided him to the Buccaneers.

“You kind of sit down after the draft and try to figure out a plan and a place to go that’s going fit you,” Bruggeman said. “They called me, expressed some interest, and I feel like it’s a place where I can compete to play.”

Kroul, 23, also had interest from multiple teams before talking to new Jets Coach Rex Ryan and ultimately picking the Jets.

“(Ryan) seems like a great guy, definitely a defensive coach,” said Kroul, who stands 6-1 and weighs 291. “He had great defenses in Baltimore all the years that he was there (as defensive coordinator). I like his scheme, they run a type of 4-3 with different fronts. I think I’ll be able to fit into it and just get out there and see what it is and see what I can do.”

Kroul started for a school-record 50 straight games for Iowa. He won the Big Ten Conference Sportsmanship Award, was named permanent team captain and second-team all-Big Ten honors by the league’s media outlets. Kroul finished with 238 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Both players watched most of the draft Sunday.

“You try to avoid it, but you can’t stop watching it,” Kroul said. “You just keep watching it and wait for a call. You either wait for a team in the late rounds to give you a call then and tell you they’re gonna draft you. Or you wait for a team to call you and tell you they’re gonna pick you up.”

Brodell, 23, caught 36 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns last year. He was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 81 yards for a touchdown. That return clinched Iowa’s 17-5 win against Iowa State. He had 961 total yards last year for Iowa.

Here’s the story on the players who were drafted Sunday:

Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene sat unwanted and unloved through the first two rounds of the NFL draft Saturday.

Sunday morning, Greene felt the love in record time.

Greene, 23, was selected by the New York Jets with the first pick in the third round Sunday, No. 65 overall. The Jets traded up 11 spots with the Detroit Lions to pick Greene and gave up their third, fourth and seventh rounds picks to get him.

Jets Coach Rex Ryan told ESPN that Greene is a “rare talent.”

“He was the best player that was on our board,” Jets Coach Rex Ryan said. “In our opinion, it wasn’t close.

“He’s a big, powerful running back. We want to have a little ground and pound.”

Greene was one of four Iowa players drafted Sunday. Former Iowa cornerback Bradley Fletcher went one pick after Greene to St. Louis (66). Denver drafted Iowa guard Seth Olsen in the fourth round (132 overall) and Oakland traded up to get tight end Brandon Myers in the sixth round (202).

Greene, 23, finished with 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, both school records at Iowa. He ran for at least 100 yards in all 13 Iowa games last season. Greene won the Doak Walker Award, which annually is given to college football’s best running back. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American.

Greene was the fifth running back drafted this weekend. Greene will compete with Jets veteran Thomas Jones and playmaker Leon Washington for time at running back. Greene was the Jets’ second pick in the draft behind USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

“It was Shonn and then it was a pretty precipitous jump from there,” Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum told reporters. “It was the gulf between him and the rest of the guys that made it a pretty easy decision.”

“The game of football is a physical sport. That’s why I enjoy it so much,” Greene told reporters. “I love contact. It’s violent, it’s quick, it’s fast. That’s just the nature of my game, how I like to play the game.”

Fletcher, 22, registered 60 tackles and three interceptions last year and was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection.

“He played behind a pretty good (player) two years ago (Charles Godfrey), and he actually started four games in there,” Rams Coach Steve Spagnuolo told reporters. And he has started games all the way through. He started games as a sophomore. He started them as a junior. And then he surfaced this year. It’s just like Billy (Devaney, the Rams’ general manager)) said, when you put on the tape, he fits well for what we’re going to ask those guys to do. That was the biggest thing.”

“I feel that I have my best football ahead of me right now, and I’m looking forward to showing that on the field,” Fletcher said.

Olsen, 23, was a first-team all-Big Ten guard last fall. He told reporters his versatility will help him compete for a spot along Denver’s offensive line.

“I feel like I can play guard and tackle, and who knows, maybe center as well,” Olsen said. “I haven’t had any snaps there but am willing to give it a shot.”

The Raiders moved up in the sixth round to grab Myers, 23. The Raiders surrendered this year’s seventh-round pick and next year’s sixth-round pick to snag Iowa’s tight end.


Greene, Fletcher go 1-2 in 3rd round

April 26, 2009

Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene was selected by the New York Jets with the first pick in the third round Sunday.

Former Iowa cornerback Bradley Fletcher was tabbed one pick later by the St. Louis Rams.

The Jets traded up 11 spots with the Detroit Lions to pick Greene and gave up their third, fourth and seventh rounds picks to get him.

Greene won the Doak Walker Award, which annually is given to college football’s best running back. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American.

Greene, 23, finished with 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, both school records at Iowa. He ran for at least 100 yards in all 13 Iowa games last season and combined both speed and power rarely found in collegiate running backs.

Jets Coach Rex Ryan told ESPN that Greene is a “rare talent.”

“He was the best player that was on our board,” Jets Coach Rex Ryan said. “In our opinion, it wasn’t close.

“He’s a big, powerful running back. We want to have a little ground and pound.”

Greene will compete with Jets veteran Thomas Jones and playmaker Leon Washington for time at running back. Greene is the Jets’ second pick in the draft behind USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

“We have three backs here,” Ryan said. “(Greene’s) got starter ability and he’s 230 pounds, great vision … let’s just give him the football and we’ll see what happens.”

Fletcher, 22, registered 60 tackles and three interceptions last year. He was the Rams’ third pick in the draft after Baylor tackle Jason Smith and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis. Fletcher was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection.


Iowa shut out in NFL draft’s first 2 rounds

April 25, 2009

IOWA CITY — No former Iowa football players, including running back Shonn Greene, were selected today in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

Most NFL analysts expected Greene to be drafted between rounds two and four. Other Hawkeyes likely to be drafted Sunday include cornerback Bradley Fletcher, defensive tackle Mitch King and offensive lineman Seth Olsen. Center Rob Bruggeman, defensive tackle Matt Kroul, tight end Brandon Myers and wide receiver Andy Brodell also could be drafted. 

Greene, 23, rushed for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, both school records at Iowa. He ran for at least 100 yards in all 13 Iowa games last season.

Greene won the Doak Walker Award last December, which annually is given to college football’s best running back. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He was a consensus All-American, Iowa’s first at running back since Nile Kinnick, and finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting.

At the NFL Combine in February, ran the 40-yard dash in a sub-par 4.66 seconds But he then cut that time at Iowa’s pro day from anywhere from 4.59 to 4.50 seconds at Iowa’s pro day, ranging from scout to scout. He also increased his 225-pound bench press repetitions from 19 at the NFL Combine to 23 at Iowa’s pro day.

Three running backs were selected in the first round. Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno was picked at No. 12  by Denver. Indianapolis drafted UConn’s Donald Brown at No. 27 to Indianapolis, while Arizona selected Ohio State running back Chris Wells.

Philadelphia drafted University of Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy in the second round (No. 53). The Eagles were Greene’s favorite team when he was a youth in south New Jersey.

Fletcher and King are projected as third- or fourth-round picks. Olsen is projected as a fourth- or fifth-round selection. Bruggeman and Kroul are viewed as late-round picks, while Myers and Brodell are likely free agents or seventh-round picks.


Where will Greene, King go?

April 25, 2009

Here are some projections on Iowa players for the NFL draft.

2. Shonn Greene, RB, Houston (46)
Perfect tandem back with Houston’s Steve Slaton

2. Bradley Fletcher, CB, New England (47)
Ascending player with good size, speed; perfect for Belichick

3. Mitch King, DT, Washington (80)
Will make a great combination with hulking Albert Haynesworth

4. Seth Olsen, G, Indianapolis (127)
A solid, dependable player on team with Iowa ties

6. Rob Bruggeman, C, Chicago (190)
Eventual replacement for Olin Kreutz?

7. Matt Kroul, DT, Minnesota (221)
Could make a good back-up this year behind Kevin Williams and Pat Williams

7. Brandon Myers, TE, Cincinnati (252)
Only way Bengals can get Myers in their camp

F/A Andy Brodell, WR, Minnesota
Vikings like to snag Iowa players as free agents


2009 NFL Mock Draft, 1st 2 rounds; Iowa draftee predictions

April 24, 2009

Here’s a look at Saturday’s first two rounds of the NFL draft. Along with the annual infusion of new blood into the NFL, the most intriguing part will include trades.

I anticipate Washington will get antsy for USC QB Mark Sanchez and will give away the farm to Kansas City to get him. That will include a No. 1 this year and next year, and their own No. 2 next year. Washington will trade starting QB Jason Campbell to the New York Jets for the Jet’s second-round pick, which then will be dealt to the Chiefs.

I expect Cleveland to deal WR Braylon Edwards to the New York Giants for a first-round pick.

At the bottom are Iowa’s draft hopefuls and where I think they could land.

1. DETROIT - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

2. ST. LOUIS - Jason Smith, T, Baylor

3. WASHINGTON (from Kansas City in a draft-day trade) – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

4. SEATTLE - Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia

5. CLEVELAND - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

6. CINCINNATI - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

7. OAKLAND - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

8. JACKSONVILLE - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

9. GREEN BAY – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

10. SAN FRANCISCO – Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State

11. BUFFALO - Everette Brown, DE/LB, Florida State

12. DENVER - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

13. KANSAS CITY (from Washington in a draft-day trade) – Andre Smith, T, Alabama

14. NEW ORLEANS - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

15. HOUSTON - Brian Cushing, LB, USC

16. SAN DIEGO - Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss

17. N.Y. Jets – Robert Ayers, DE/LB, Tennessee

18. DENVER (from Chicago) – Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss

19. TAMPA BAY – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

20. DETROIT (from Dallas) – James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State

21. PHILADELPHIA - Alex Mack, C, California

22. MINNESOTA - Eben Britton, T, Arizona

23. NEW ENGLAND – Connor Barwin, LB/DE, Cincinnati

24. ATLANTA - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

25. MIAMI - Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

26. BALTIMORE - Darrius Bulter, CB, UConn

27. INDIANAPOLIS - Ron Brace, DT, Boston College

28. BUFFALO (from Carolina through Philadelphia) - Max Unger, C/G, Oregon

29. CLEVELAND (from NY Giants in a draft-day trade) - Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State

30. TENNESSEE - Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

31. ARIZONA - Clay Matthews, LB, USC

32. PITTSBURGH - Jamon Meredith, G/T, South Carolina

SECOND ROUND

33. DETROIT - Ziggy Hood, DT, Missouri

34. NEW ENGLAND (from Kansas City) – Donald Brown, RB, UConn

35. ST. LOUIS – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

36. CLEVELAND - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

37. SEATTLE - Jarius Byrd, CB, Oregon

38. CINCINNATI - Paul Kruger, DE, Utah

39. JACKSONVILLE - Eric Wood, C, Louisville

40. OAKLAND - William Beatty, T, UConn

41. GREEN BAY - Craig Urbik, G, Wisconsin

42. BUFFALO - Duke Robinson, G, Oklahoma

43. SAN FRANCISCO – Antoine Caldwell, C, Alabama

44. MIAMI - Hakeen Nicks, WR, North Carolina

45. NY GIANTS – Scott McKillop, LB, Pittsburgh

46. HOUSTON - Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa

47. NEW ENGLANDBradley Fletcher, CB, Iowa

48. DENVER - Jasper Brinkley, LB, South Carolina

49. CHICAGO - Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State

50. CLEVELAND - Larry English, DE/LB, Northern Illinois

51. DALLAS - William Moore, S, Missouri

52. KANSAS CITY (from NY Jets through Washington in a draft-day trade) – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

53. PHILADELPHIA - LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh

54. MINNESOTA - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

55. ATLANTA - Marcus Freeman, LB, Ohio State

56. MIAMI - Patrick Chung, S, Oregon

57. BALTIMORE - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

58. NEW ENGLAND – Gerald Cadogan, T, Penn State

59. CAROLINA - Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati

60. NY GIANTS – Phil Loadholt, T, Oklahoma

61. INDIANAPOLIS - Kenny McKinley, WR, South Carolina

62. TENNESSEE - Dorell Scott, DT, Clemson

63. ARIZONA - Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan

64. PITTSBURGH - Fili Moala, DE, USC

IOWA DRAFTEES

2. Shonn Greene, RB, Houston (46)
Perfect tandem back with Houston’s Steve Slaton
2. Bradley Fletcher, CB, New England (47)
Ascending player with good size, speed; perfect for Belichick
3. Mitch King, DT, Washington (80)
Will make a great combination with hulking Albert Haynesworth
4. Seth Olsen, G, Indianapolis (127)
A solid, dependable player on team with Iowa ties
6. Rob Bruggeman, C, Chicago (190)
Eventual replacement for Olin Kreutz?
7. Matt Kroul, DT, Minnesota (221)
Could make a good back-up this year behind Kevin Williams and Pat Williams
7. Brandon Myers, TE, Cincinnati (252)
Only way Bengals can get Myers in their camp
F/A Andy Brodell, WR, Minnesota
Vikings like to snag Iowa players as free agents


Olsen, Brodell look for an NFL shot

April 24, 2009
Iowa offensive lineman Seth Olsen talks to reporters during Iowa's annual football media day, Aug. 4, 2008, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa offensive lineman Seth Olsen talks to reporters during Iowa's annual football media day, Aug. 4, 2008, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY — Dan Shonka describes former Iowa guard Seth Olsen as a finished product.

That doesn’t mean Olsen, 23, is ready to pound the likes of NFL defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth anytime soon. But Olsen can step into just about any offensive scheme and understand what the offensive line coach is talking about.

“Olsen can put his hat on you,” said Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Services, LLC. “He can block in the zone-blocking scheme, he can run his feet into you, he’s smart, he’s aggressive, he does a lot of good things.”

“We like him, he’s liked by a lot of offensive line coaches. He’s definitely a guy with ability to block in zone schemes, he’s valued for that and his understanding of zone blocking schemes.”

Shonka ranks Olsen (6 feet, 4 1/2 inches, 306 pounds) as the 11th-best guard in this draft. Shonka said has got “pretty good first-step quickness” but “he could use a little more body strength.” Shonka projects Olsen as a fifth-round pick going to Indianapolis.

Olsen was voted a first-team all-Big Ten offensive lineman by both the league’s coaches and media outlets. He was named to four different All-American squads, including first-team by Rivals.com.

Former Iowa wide receiver Andy Brodell (6-3, 200) also is vying to make an NFL club. Shonka said Brodell reminds him of former Iowa receiver Kevin Kasper, who covered and returned kicks for several different NFL teams.

“If (Brodell) could go down and make tackles on special teams, coverage teams and be your fourth or fifth receiver, he’ll have a shot at making a ballclub,” Shonka said. “A lot of times you can’t find that third, fourth or fifth receiver that can make a tackle on a special team.”

Brodell’s top performance came in the 2006 Alamo Bowl, where he caught six passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. But in 2007, he suffered a torn hamstring against Wisconsin and missed the final eight games.

Brodell totaled 961 yards last year. He caught 36 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns. He was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown clinched Iowa’s 17-5 win against Iowa State.


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