Ex-Hawk Aaron Kampman keeps quiet about position switch

May 29, 2009

Per the Green Bay Press-Gazette, it appears former defensive end and current outside linebacker Aaron Kampman is unhappy with the move. Here’s the article:

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20090528/PKR01/90528143/1058


King had 20 teams interested

May 3, 2009

Former Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King picked Tennessee over about 20 other teams because he likes Nashville and the team’s coaching philosophy, according to the Tennessean.

King was surprisingly not drafted last weekend, but there were a flood of calls to him and his agent, Richard Rosa, after the draft.

In other news about former Hawkeyes:

Center Rob Bruggeman was one of eight rookie free agents signed by Tampa Bay, but one of 52 players hitting the field for rookie mini-camp.

Here’s more on wide receiver Andy Brodell, who failed his physical before Packers’ mini-camp on Friday.

Running back Shonn Greene shows his strength — and weaknesses in Jets’ mini-camp. Defensive tackle Matt Kroul also is at the Jets’ mini-camp.

A St. Louis Rams blog discusses cornerback Bradley Fletcher’s chances of improving the porous Rams defense.

Tight end Brandon Myers is seen as strictly as a blocking tight end in Oakland.

Here’s more analysis on guard Seth Olsen.


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.


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


Slight adds motivation for Brandon Myers

April 19, 2009
Iowa's Brandon Myers misses a pass during the fourth quarter against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on September 27,  2008. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Iowa's Brandon Myers misses a pass during the fourth quarter against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on September 27, 2008. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Brandon Myers thought he had played himself into the draft discussion.

Good statistics. Started every game for a team that won nine games. Converted three third-down catches into first downs in a bowl game. All-Big Ten selection by the league’s coaches.

But Myers, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end from Prairie City, wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine in February. Initially, it hit him hard that NFL scouts didn’t think he was one of the nation’s top 20 tight end prospects.

“I thought I had good film from this year,” Myers said. “I thought with our success we had and having Shonn (Greene) and Mitch (King) and everyone was watching, getting first-team all-Big Ten, I thought for sure I’d definitely get a shot.

“I was happy for my teammates that got to go but at same thing, I wanted to go. It definitely made me realize I had to work that much more harder and I have that much more to improve. I wasn’t selected in the top 20 tight ends; obviously I have to pick up my game and get better.

Myers, 23, hauled in 34 passes for 441 yards and four touchdowns last year. He earned the Iowa offense’s Coaches Appreciation Award. But neither those statistics or that praise earned him a spot at the NFL Combine.

But that’s not all bad, either. Former Iowa defensive end Aaron Kampman didn’t make the NFL Combine, but he was a fifth-round draft pick. Kampman has played in two Pro Bowls for Green Bay.

“Yeah, that was the first thing Coach (Kirk) Ferentz mentioned to me, which definitely made me feel better,” Myers said. “But obviously I was still disappointed. If things turn out like Aaron Kampman, I’ll be all right with that.”

Myers has gotten some play from NFL scouts and teams within the last month. Scouts from 29 teams watched him and other Hawkeyes compete during pro day in late March. He ran a 4.74 40-yard dash time and had 17 bench press repetitions of 225 pounds.

Myers also has been one of the most active Hawkeyes in taking visits before this weekend’s draft. He’s met with several teams, whose officials conduct interviews similar to those at the combine.

Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Services LLC, doesn’t have Myers ranked as a drafted player. But Shonka said Myers has skills that will help get him into a camp and possibly stick with a team.

“He does catch the ball well,” Shonka said. “He screens off blockers. He’s not a big drive blocker for a tight end, which you don’t have to be. You just have to create a little seam where you have somebody run up inside you. He’s that kind of guy.”

Shonka said Myers has an advantage on other tight ends by playing in Iowa’s pro-style offense.

“A lot of them are more like slot guys than tight ends,” Shonka said. “(Myers is) used to blocking in Iowa’s system. That definitely helps him. If he was drafted late, it would not surprise us, but we think probably going to end up being more like a free-agent guy. He’ll have a chance to go to camp and show what he can do.”

That’s just what Myers wants. He and his agents have discussed potential destinations if he doesn’t get drafted. By early April he had visited four NFL teams and several others would like a closer look at a player the teams didn’t interview at the NFL Combine.

“Obviously I’d love to get drafted,” Myers said. “I think taking these visits, it definitely gets my name out there. It’s kind of like the domino effect where one team hears about other teams hear about it and bring me in. I have no idea if I get drafted or where I will be. I just want a shot, just want a chance. It doesn’t really matter where. I just want an opportunity to play.”


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