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Hawkeyes in the NFL Draft

The NFL draft is soon to be upon us and once again the Iowa Hawkeyes have a few star players departing in hopes of fulfilling filling their NFL dreams. I’m here to take a look at the four prospects i expect to see getting there name called.

#1. Lukas Van Ness

Van Ness is a defensive lineman coming off his second season of college football. In his sophomore season, Van Ness grew exponentially as a pass rusher getting 43 pressures, 29 QB hurries and 8 sacks on the season while only playing in 12 games. Compared to his previous season, Van Ness played in more games yet got only half the results last year, virtually doubling his pressures and sacks in the 2022 campaign.

Scouts have Van Ness as the #15 ranked defensive lineman in a stacked lineman class. He excels in the pass rush and run stop categories as his spin move is already NFL caliber. He will need time to develop another pass rush move and get less susceptible to cut blocks however expect to hear his name called Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft. After the combine he had, Van Ness arguably has some of the highest Edge value in this draft.

#2. Sam LaPorta

LaPorta is a tight end coming off his 4th year of college football, in his senior year LaPorta stamped himself as one of the best Tight ends to come out of Tight End U with 53 catches for 592 yards and only one touchdown(which I personally take with a grain of salt as the Iowa offense wasn’t great this year) LaPorta is a freak athlete running a 4.59 40 yard dash along with a high football IQ and ultra reliable pass catcher. At 6’3, 245 he uses his length to his advantage to adjust to throws and is overall very athletic for a tight end. Scouts currently have him as the #6 ranked tight end making him a prime day 2 target for a team who needs offense first tight end. Teams will have to worry about developing his blocking skills as a tight end which holds him back from hearing his name called day 1.

#3. Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell is a linebacker coming off his senior season of college ball. Campbell, who was the 2022 Dick Butkus award winner for best linebacker had a very impressive season with 77 tackles, one pass breakup and 2 interceptions along with 13 pressure on the QB. Campbell is one of the best pure tacklers in the class with a mix of speed, size, and length. He possess the ability to be a strong blitzer, with a knack to find himself wherever the ball is. Scouts have him as the #9 ranked linebacker in the class making him a steal in day 2 of the draft. Teams need to pay attention to his slower reaction time to the run game and will look for him to utilize his strength in order to break blocks in the NFL.

#4. Riley Moss

Riley Moss is a 5th year defensive back who is coming off a strong last season. In 12 games Moss had 43 tackles, 7 pass breakups and one interception. Moss is the definition of a slot corner with his strength in speed however has the size and strength to body up receivers when needed. NFL teams need to pay attention to his quick feet and strong lower body allowing him to change direction quick and disrupt receiver routes whether playing man coverage or off his man. Scouts have Moss as the #31 ranked DB in this draft class but he is a true hidden gem just like former Hawkeye Desmond King was years back. Moss will need to develop his understanding of routes and learn to play less conservative as a player but look for his name late round.

Pay attention to these players once the draft rolls around as they will make major contributions to the team who drafts them.

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