Today marks the end of the NFL combine and one of the final days for NFL hopefuls to prove themselves to would-be professional suitors. Among the 327 players officially listed as having received an invitation to the combine are several former Hawkeyes, many of which are working hard at raising their draft stock. The good news for Hawkeye Nation is that the rest of the country seems to have finally jumped on the bandwagon (amazing what a national stage can do for the media’s perception) and it is looking like quite a few guys will be hearing their names called.
The first Hawkeye likely to be taken will be the All-Big Ten left tackle that has received the most attention to-date. Bryan Bulaga is now believed to be a top ten pick and ranks among the top three tackles in this draft class (a class which is projected to have 3 tackles taken in the top ten and possibly all three in the top five).
While Bulaga has long been expected to make an appearance on day one, there is even a little buzz around the net that CB Amari Spievey may join him in the first round. Spievey didn’t exactly kill it at the combine, but there aren’t a ton of questions on him either. His scouting report notes that he is among the best in the country in terms of instincts and the only questions surround his ability to catch faster receivers when beat deep. A 4.47 in the 40 should help at least assure scouts that Spievey won’t have to run down wide outs from behind all the time and his abilities in zone coverage have spoken for themselves.
Linebackers Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds, both recognized as great players, emotional leaders and tough-nosed tacklers, have face many questions about size and athletic ability in recent weeks (well, OK, probably since they stepped on the field the first time in black and gold, but doesn’t that just come with the name of the school?). Both upped their stock this week and put on a solid showing for scouts. Angerer, listed as the 11th linebacker on the board and is projected to go in the middle to later rounds. He wrapped up his combine performance by finishing 9th in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.29, while Indiana native and fellow Hawkeye A.J. Edds edged him out by one-hundredth of a second, finishing 8th in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.28. Edds also finished 10th among linebackers in the 40 with a time of 4.71 and is a late round projection.
The real questions in terms of draft status lie with some of the less publicized Hawkeyes. Tackle Kyle Calloway and guard Dace Richardson have yet to blow away scouts, but are still in the mix for a late round pick up. Former tight end Tony Moeaki, on the other hand, is doing his darndest to prove to scouts that he is the re-incarnation of Dallas Clark (ironically enough, there have been a few rumors that the Colts wouldn’t mind nabbing Moeaki late to compliment Clark as a more traditional tight end). Moeaki finished his workouts with a 40 time of 4.69, good enough for 4th among tight ends, and a vertical leap of 34”, good enough for 7th among tight ends. He also finished 5th among tight ends in the broad jump with a jump of 9’5” and 3rd among tight ends in the 60-yard shuttle with a time of 11.86. The big question mark for most NFL scouts will likely be Moeaki’s durability, as most Hawk fans are well aware of the injury history of the former 4-star from Wheaton, Illinois. If those concerns can be overcome, it seems likely Tony will find himself playing football somewhere next year and possibly making quite of bit of cash doing so.
As draft day draws closer, many of the question marks for former Hawkeyes will be cleared up, and I’m certain many more will arise. Today marks one of the last chances most of these guys will have to make an impression on scouts, but I’m confident it won’t be the last time we hear from most of them. Be sure to check back often for updates as draft day approaches as we will be doing a preview along with some projections for our beloved Hawkeyes. Cheers.