With both of Iowa’s basketball teams ... no longer playing basketball and the baseball team just getting in the thick of things, all football-related news is generally a welcome respite in this Hawkeye News Cycle.
Iowa football hosted its pro day yesterday, a pro day that may not have had the fanfare that came with last year’s, but still exciting nonetheless. The Hawkeyes had 16 former players work out in front of 39 NFL scouts & coaches among 31 NFL teams (let’s find out which team didn’t attend) hoping to either improve their NFL combine numbers, or get the chance to workout in front of NFL and CFL scouts if they didn’t make the trip to Indy.
A comprehensive list of who worked out and did what at Pro Day can be found over on Hawkeye Report. Superlatives and #analysis can be found below:
Josh Jackson ran the 40-yard dash with the hope of improving his less-than-stellar time of 4.56 from the combine. Jackson ran it twice yesterday ... and did somewhat better. His best time clocked at a 4.52. The NFL draft is weird enough, however, where 4/100 of a second could be the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions according to Chad Leistikow.
Jackson also recorded a 40-inch vertical jump, two inches better than his combine performance, which seems rather significant to me. He apparently met privately with the Titans and Patriots afterward.
Another interesting thing in Jackson’s pro day numbers involve the scale. He weighed-in at 188 lbs yesterday, compared to 196 lbs at the NFL combine. I’m not really sure what that means, but 8 pounds seems pretty significant to me, and is definitely the kind of thing NFL scouts and coaches nitpick.
Here's the video of @Joshrando3 talking about the #NFLCombine injury, criticism of his performance in the drills & making a good impression on scouts at Monday's pro day. #Hawkeyes #NFL pic.twitter.com/aca5LIwqEw— Adam Rossow (@AdamJRossow) March 26, 2018
Perhaps the second-most noteworthy performance from pro day came from a guy we haven’t heard about in quite some time.
Drew Ott, who hasn’t been able to stick on an NFL roster since he wasn’t granted a medical hardship waiver in 2015 worked out for scouts yesterday. He put up some pretty elite numbers, too.
He benched 27 reps, which would have put him tied for second among defensive ends this past combine. Ott’s numbers for broad jump aren’t that impressive, though his vertical is pretty good.
Here’s to hoping Ott finally sticks on with an NFL club.
Josey Jewell had a significantly better 40 time at Pro Day, clocking a 4.68 compared to a 4.82 in Indy. He also had four more bench reps and a faster shuttle time. His three-cone drill from the combine is still off the charts; that will likely separate him from a mid-round guy to a late-round guy.
Matt VandeBerg might just have the chance to stick on to a roster after his pro day. He ran a respectable 4.53 40, but had a 20-yard shuttle that would have been the second-best among wideouts at the combine with a time of 4.04.
His 37-inch vertical would be a top of the line performance, too. There just may be room in the slot for Meerkat on an NFL team.
Nathan Bazata ran a 40 time that would have been the best among d-tackles at the combine (5.20). Twenty-four bench reps isn’t great but it’s respectable. His 4.39 shuttle time is really quite good though. On paper, Bazata would be a sneaky defensive tackle prospect for a team to steal in the late rounds, especially given Iowa’s recent track record of success with defensive linemen in the NFL.
And the rest
- Ike Boettger ran a 5.3 40 just six months after tearing his ACL. He had a really good three-cone drill (7.45) but didn’t bench. I’d be willing to bet he sticks to an NFL roster.
- James Butler clocked a 4.58 40 and a not-so-great shuttle time (4.49). His three-cone drill was pretty good, though, and his size (5-8, 209) could make him an intriguing change of pace back.
- All three of Iowa’s backers who attended — Jewell, Ben Niemann and Bo Bower — met together with the Patriots after working out.
- Niemann ran a 4.6 40 while weighing 235. That’s v. good.
- Bo Bower had a decent day, clocking a 4.57 40 and 6.9 three-cone. There’s also a photo of him in this gallery working out with a guy in Dallas Cowboys gear, whose identity I could not substantiate on the Cowboys website. (Unrelated, check out the beard on the Cowboys’ strength coach.)
- James Daniels didn’t work out at all, just weighing-in and did position drills, choosing to stand by his combine numbers.
James Daniels said he has on-location visits set up in April with the Cowboys, Broncos, Rams, 49ers, Bears, Panthers and the Eagles. He said he had more but those the ones he could think of off top of his head.— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) March 26, 2018
- Akrum Wadley did the shuttle (4.30) and vertical jump (33.5”), which he didn’t do at the combine. That’s all he did besides weigh-in, though, coming in at 189 lbs, five pounds lighter than his combine weight. #WadleyWeightWatch is becoming a thing.
- Sean Welsh also chose to stand by his combine numbers, except for the bench where he recorded two more reps, and the 40 where he ran a 5.20 compared to a 5.43
- Long-snapper Tyler Kluver worked out for scouts. Casey Kreiter is out there snapping balls for the Broncos, don’t see why Kluver can’t do the same for another team.
- Fullback Drake Kulick posted a 4.76 40 at 249 lbs. Here’s to hoping the fullback position isn’t dead yet.
- Kevin Ward also worked out at pro day.