The NFL Draft season is here and there are plenty of guys from the Iowa football team vying for a shot. Here’s the guys who should receive combine invites.
The NFL Combine, held in Indianapolis, Indiana every year, is arguably the best opportunity a NFL draft prospect has to elevate his draft stock after the season has concluded so getting an invite is a very big deal. This year’s combine is held from February 26th to March 4th at Lucas Oil Stadium, and there will likely be a few familiar faces there from the Iowa football program.
Last season, the Iowa football team sent five guys (James Daniels, Josh Jackson, Josey Jewell, Akrum Wadley, and Sean Welsh). This year, however, the Hawks could send as many as six guys if a few of the seniors receive *somewhat surprising* invitations.
Obviously, we can expect to see Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson, Anthony Nelson, and Amani Hooker there, considering all three are considering all four have day one or day two potential. Two guys who could sneak in though are interior offensive lineman Ross Reynolds and Keegan Render.
Reynolds, a senior from Waukee, Iowa, was a full-time starter this past season at the guard position and for his efforts, he earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Render, meanwhile, was stuck behind last year’s Chicago Bear’s second round draft pick James Daniels and finally got his shot to start as well. In his first season as a full-time starter, Render picked up Third Team All-Big Ten honors.
Despite not being elite prospects, these two guys have a very good shot at hearing their names called towards the end of the draft late on day three for two reasons. One, they’ve been developed by two of the best offensive line coaches in the NCAA, Kirk and Brian Ferentz and the NFL highly respects lineman coming from the Iowa football program. Second, while they might not be superior prospects physically, they are both technically and fundamentally sounds lineman who are hard workers.
Going in the draft would put these guys within the top 254 available prospects whereas the combine typically has around 330 guys invited each year. Although the combine is held prior the draft (obviously), by this point, scouts are getting a pretty good idea on what players have potential at the next level so seeing either or both of these players get invited would not surprise me at this point, at all.
As far as the other seniors vying for a NFL roster spot, they will likely be relegated to showcasing their skills at the Iowa football pro day (which has yet to be scheduled). Fortunately for these guys, there should be plenty of scouts in attendance with not one but two potential first round tight ends (Fant and Hockenson) and two other strong day two candidates (Nelson and Hooker).
With most of the postseason all-star events wrapping up once the 2019 Senior Bowl concludes, we should be hearing about which players received invites very shortly.