Following the loss handed to women’s basketball on Sunday afternoon, we’re left with baseball ... and that’s about it for Iowa sports as we get in to the doldrums of summer.
Alas, as Americans we know there really is no offseason for football, so here we are covering a football event in late March.
And what an event it was. Pro Day! Only four Hawkeyes were invited to the NFL Combine last month, so this time some other guys with NFL aspirations had the opportunity to showcase their stuff. All 32 NFL teams, along with three CFL teams were at the event to watch 10 former Iowa players, so it’s safe to say some Hawkeyes are drawing good eyeballs.
A comprehensive list of results can be found over on Hawkeye Report, so we’ll just get in to some tidbits here and offer our award-winning analysis.
First, let’s get to the guy who has a chance to be the highest-drafted Hawkeye since
Riley Reiff Brandon Scherff was taken in the first round in 2014: Desmond King.
King ran two forty-yard dashes. One clocked at 4.52, the other at 4.55. That’s pretty fast! If we’re to believe that it’s a true 40 time (and 40 times at pro days are notoriously forgiving) then that may just align with the makings of an NFL cornerback. However, in reality, King may just be a little bit slower than his 4.5-40 time might indicate. That, coupled with his size, may make King a more ideal safety. But who knows! King’s size may just be what a team wants out of a corner.
King, if you recall, didn’t run the 40 at the combine, which made some scouts mad. This should put his speed questions to rest. And you know you’re good when your 40 time isn’t even the biggest story of the day:
Drew Rosenhaus cruised through the lobby and said client Desmond King ran a 4.51 40. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) March 27, 2017
For the unacquainted, Rosenhaus is an NFL super agent who also represents (or represented) the likes of Terrell Owens, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Darnell Dockett and Navorro Bowman. He’s negotiated over a billion dollars on over 70 NFL contracts. I think it’s safe to say King is in good hands. The only other Iowa player that retained Rosenhaus that I’m aware of is Matt Roth.
C.J. Beathard hasn’t run a 40. He didn’t at the combine, and he didn’t yesterday, due to the groin injury he sustained during a bowl game that never happened. Luckily for him, running isn’t all that important for a quarterback, and he’s participated in all the appropriate passing drills. He also did the broad jump and some agility drills but we’re not gonna go into those numbers.
The most surprising figures of the day were from former walk-on and third team all-Big Ten wide receiver Riley McCarron. McCarron rustled up some PTO to take the day off from his job as an accountant at RSM in Kansas City.
And he made the most of it. The Dubuque native ran a 4.36 40. That’s about as fast as you’re gonna find in the NFL. Even if you were to add a tenth of a second to compensate for a forgiving clock, that’s still NFL speed. Lots of people on Twitter made a New England Patriots joke in reference to McCarron but we’re not going to perpetuate that stereotype here at The Pants oh no not on my watch.
And finally, Jake Duzey made an appearance during Pro Day workouts. Maybe you guys knew he was still trying to get back in to football, but I had no idea he was still grinding following the injury that kept him out of the Rose Bowl.
Duzey ran a 4.62 40 (by comparison, George Kittle ran a 4.52, which is real damn fast for tight ends) and 23 reps of 225 lbs (Kittle did 18). He also clocked a 4.16 shuttle time (4.07). Those are really solid numbers for a tight end.
While rehabbing, Duzey worked as a Lyft driver and a delivery driver. A Michigan native, he even took balls from his former quarterback Jake Rudock, who’s the backup QB with the Lions.
Duzey isn’t eligible for the draft, so he’s in a similar boat as Drew Ott. Duzey will test the free agency waters that have been so unkind to Ott following the draft.
To me, however, the most interesting storyline is one that surrounds Faith Ekakitie. The former defensive tackle put up better numbers in every category compared to Jaleel Johnson, who has been projected as high as a second-round pick by some services.
Johnson didn’t have the best combine, but his pro day was better. He ran a significantly faster 40 time during pro day (5.08 compared to 5.31), but didn’t do the bench again, and his poor 19-rep performance in Indy was a sticking point to some NFL scouts.
Ekakitie was instrumental in Iowa’s run defense last year, and at times I thought he outplayed Johnson. If you recall, Ekakitie took on a double-team that allowed Johnson to notch a safety against Michigan. Good times.
So, did Ekakitie play his way to the NFL draft? We’ll find out. If nothing else, he’ll almost certainly get a shot in the CFL as he’s originally from Ontario.
And the rest
- Cole Croston worked out at each offensive line position. At 6-5, 314 lbs, he’d make for a big center.
- LeShun Daniels Jr. ran a 4.5 40 and put up 21 reps at the bench. His agility numbers were also pretty good. I have to imagine there’s a spot on an NFL roster for him. Daniels has retained Neil Cornrich as his agent. For those keeping score at home, Cornrich is the same guy who represents Kirk Ferentz.
- Anthony Gair is the last Hawkeye we haven’t talked about. His pro day numbers ... weren’t the best.