So You've Drafted Anthony Hitchens: A New Owner's Guide

Matthew Holst

Congratulations! You've just made the wonderful decision to draft Anthony Hitchens! Like most new Hitchens owners, you're no doubt filled with questions about your new family member. We here at BHGP will try our best to answer any questions you might have.

HELLO DALLAS!

WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT ANTHONY HITCHENS? He arrived at Iowa as a Rivals two-star recruit from Lorain, Ohio, with offers from Indiana, Kansas and a handful of MAC schools. He was a running back in high school and was generally viewed as a running back prospect. He started his career there at Iowa, but most of his playing time that irst season on campus came on on special teams.

After moving between offense and defense during bowl prep in 2010, Hitchens would end up at linebacker entering the 2011 season. He was second string at weak side linebacker and played in eight games while missing five others due to injury.

He became the starter in 2012 and ended up starting all but one game that season.  He had an extremely productive season: he led the Big Ten in tackles and ranked fifth in the nation with 11.2 tackles per game. He earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors that year. He again earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors in 2013 (media) after this most recent season. The coaches named him to the second team all-Big Ten team after the 2013 season.

WHAT DID HE DO THAT WAS SO GREAT? Hitchens was Iowa's leading tackler over the last two seasons. He finished 2013 with 112 tackles and 2012 with 124. For a career, he recorded 270 total tackles, good enough for 20th all-time at Iowa. He earned the Roy J. Carver Defensive MVP Award in 2013.

While he led Iowa and the Big Ten in tackles his junior season ,he still improved his game this past season and was a better all-around player as a result.  Over the last two seasons Iowa has transitioned from a defense led by Norm Parker to a defense under the direction of Phil Parker. Iowa also added former Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid to the staff in 2013. Reid and Parker implemented new strategies that better utilized their linebacking corps.

Hitchens was a definite beneficiary of the tweaked Iowa defense: he saw his tackle for a loss statistic take a big jump from 5.5 in 2012 to 13.5 in 2013. Iowa used their linebackers to blitz the passer far more often in 2013 and he was effective doing so. He also became a better tackler and learned to step into the hole and initiate contact.

STATS:

YEAR GAMES SOLO ASSIST TOTAL SACKS/YDS TFL/YDS FF FR PASS DEF INT/YDS
2010 10 1 8 9 0 0 0 0 0 0
2011 8 14 11 25 0 0 0 1 0 0
2012 11 56 68 124 1/5 5.5/15 0 0 0 0
2013 13 54 58 112 2/3 13.5/21 2 1 2 1/18
TOTAL 42 125 145 270 3/8 19/36 2 2 2 1/18

PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES. He's on the short side at 6'. He's not overly fast, but he does have lower-half explosiveness which shows up in his 10-yard dash. He's perhaps the strongest of Iowa's three senior linebackers, but he may also have peaked physically. Perhaps his biggest knock is that he's considered a "tweener."

NFL COMBINE:

HEIGHT WEIGHT ARM HAND 1ST 40-YARD 2ND 40-YARD 40-YARD OFFICIAL
6'0" 240 32 3/8" 9 3/8" 4.72 4.62 4.74
10-YARD DASH BENCH VERTICAL BROAD 3-CONE SHUTTLE 60-YARD
1.57 23 31.5" 116" 7.15 4.45 N/A

PRO DAY RESULTS:

HIGHLIGHTS:

WHAT ABOUT THE BAD? In 2012, Hitchens was leading the Big Ten in total tackles despite Iowa struggling to four wins. The Hawkeyes still had a shot at bowl eligibility late in the season, hosting Purdue at home. The offense was faltering, as they had all season. But something else interesting happened: Hitchens was benched.  He had eight tackles early in the game but he watched most of the second half from the sidelines. Iowa coaches said they weren't satisfied with his "consistency." Read that as effort.

He said the right things following the game. In fact, he said "It just shows me that I'm not where everyone thinks I'm at. I've still got to improve." He missed the next week's game versus Michigan due to injury and ended the season with 10 tackles against Nebraska.

WAS THIS A GOOD DRAFT PICK? He's shown the ability to bounce back. Some college players may have looked at the end of 2012 and decided to head elsewhere. Hitchens didn't and he improved as he said he would. He's shown that in an aggressive defense he can shine.

He's a solid tackler and will contribute right away to special teams. Once he learns a team's defensive system, he could be a reliable second option at middle or weak side linebacker.

DOES OUR NEW ADDITION HAVE A TWITTER ACCOUNT?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Black Heart Gold Pants

You must be a member of Black Heart Gold Pants to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Black Heart Gold Pants. You should read them.

Join Black Heart Gold Pants

You must be a member of Black Heart Gold Pants to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Black Heart Gold Pants. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker