Head coaches calls seal deal for Kroul, Bruggeman

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.

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3 Responses to Head coaches calls seal deal for Kroul, Bruggeman

  1. [...] Head coaches calls seal deal for Kroul, Bruggeman Two former Iowa football players with local ties signed free-agent contracts with a pair of NFL teams shortly after [...] [...]

  2. [...]  Head coaches calls seal deal for Kroul, Bruggeman Two former Iowa football players with local ties signed free-agent contracts with a pair of NFL teams shortly after [...] [...]

  3. [...] 23, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 293 pounds, signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in April. AKPC_IDS += "28366,";Print this article or SHARETHIS.addEntry({ [...]

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