Week five of the NFL season proved to be the week of the offensive, as there was a steady dose of big boy former Hawkeyes lifting up their respective teams over the course of this past week.
That said, you’ll notice a number of new names added to the list this week and it’d be awesome to see those names stick around on here moving forward.
As always, keep in mind, this is not meant to be a full update on every former Hawkeye in the NFL. This is more catered to the former Hawkeyes who stood out or had something interesting or important happen to them this past week.
Hope you enjoy and go Hawks!
Tristan Wirfs continues to prove himself as just an unbelievably refined, talented and consistent player week after week in only his second year in the NFL and that’s why he continues to find himself on this list.
This season, it appears Wirfs might be well on his way to an All-Pro nod at right tackle and can any of us really even say we’re surprised?
Following a dominating Tampa Bay Buccaneers victory over the Miami Dolphins, Wirfs was able to successfully extend his streak of not giving up a single sack to 20 straight games ... you heard that right ... 20 STRAIGHT GAMES!!! That’s unheard of in today’s NFL regardless of which offensive tackle spot a player is lining up at.
Well done, Tristan. Well done.
Most pass-blocking snaps in Week 5 without allowing a pressure— PFF (@PFF) October 11, 2021
Tristan Wirfs - 48 pic.twitter.com/bgoHRZCqqq
We all know the city of Las Vegas is known for their many spectacles and entertainment venues. However, I don’t think many Las Vegas Raiders fans expected to see a WWE match unfold before their eyes this past Sunday against the Chicago Bears inside Allegiant Stadium.
That said, James Daniels had other ideas, as the former Hawkeye standout decided it was pummelin’ time en route to a dominating 20-9 Bears win.
Might not want to leave your feet around James Daniels. pic.twitter.com/qz96cmETwf— Ⓜ️ ▶️ (@_MarcusD3_) October 10, 2021
let’s go ahead and show another James some love, as former Hawkeye, James Ferentz, received his fifth career start this past Sunday since entering the league all the way back in 2014.
It’s pretty incredible to see Ferentz still in the league today, let alone getting opportunities to start, as he’s been in the league for over seven years now and is just now tallying his fifth start ever. There’s obviously something he brings to the table that Bill Belichick likes and it would surprise absolutely no one to one day see him on the sideline for some football team somewhere as an up and coming coach.
Patriots' starting O-line:— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) October 10, 2021
LT: Justin Herron
LG: James Ferentz
C: Davis Andrews
RG: Ted Karras
RT: Yodny Cajuste
First career start for Cajuste, fifth for Ferentz.
As we’ve highlighted numerous times in this series so far this season, Cincinnati Bengals right tackle and former Hawkeye first-round pick, Riley Reiff, has been one of the biggest free agency steals of the offseason.
That fact isn’t lost on second-year quarterback, Joe Burrow, who appreciates Reiff more than anyone else on the team.
Reiff has been an unexpected stabilizing force at tackle for the Bengals so far this season and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue as the season pushes forward.
“He’s made a world of difference.” Joe Burrow on Riley Reiff, who Burrow says made a good play on zero blitz at end of Jags game.— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) October 6, 2021
Perhaps you’re beginning to a notice a similar theme... THIS IS THE WEEK OF THE OFFENSIVE LINEMAN!!!
We all know Brandon Scherff from his days as a Hawkeye and as a member of the Washington Football Team, Scherff only continues to be an absolute mover in the run game and steady presence on the inside for a team that so desperately needs it.
Come season’s end — assuming good health — don’t be surprised to see Scherff’s name pop up on the All-Pro list.
Best OG Run Block Win Rate Through Week 5 (ESPN)— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) October 12, 2021
Andrew Norwell: 84%
James Daniels: 80%
Brandon Scherff, Graham Glasgow: 79%
Josh Jones: 78%
Zack Martin: 77%
Trey Smith, Xavier Su'a-Filo: 76%
Ereck Flowers, Jon Runyan: 74%
Micah Hyde remains a staple of this weekly post, as his talent, skill and production all rank among the NFL’s best and for yet another week, Hyde didn’t disappoint.
For now a third straight week, Hyde finished the game with an interception, as he seemingly picked up right where the Hawks left off against Penn State on Saturday. This one was a little bit more special though, as this interception included a run back for a pick-six and it happened to come off of the best quarterback in the NFL — Patrick Mahomes.
I have no doubt you’ll be reading about more of Hyde’s success on next week’s post, because the guy just can’t seem to stop making plays each and every week.
It’s no secret that, following his Iowa playing career, A.J. Epenesa slimmed down his body to become more explosive and agile as a pass rusher off the edge. That said, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Epenesa’s “get off” or time is takes a pass rusher to cross the line of scrimmage, ranks as THE fastest in the NFL at 0.71 seconds...
Listen, I know Epenesa altered his body type over the past two seasons. However, to go from an incredibly disappointing combine performance where scouts and analysts criticized Epenesa to all hell about being “slow” and “less explosive than people thought.” Maybe ... just maybe ... more people should’ve trusted their eyes with his evaluation along with a number of other former Hawkeyes during their draft process.
NFL Next Gen Stats' pass rush get off is the time it takes a pass rusher to cross the LOS.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 12, 2021
Among edge players A.J. Epenesa is the fastest at an average of 0.71 seconds.
Josh Allen is slowest at 1.07 seconds.
(Min. 50 pass rushes, at least 70% at edge)
Sunday was a sad news for one of the most likable dudes in the NFL, George Kittle, as he was added to San Francisco 49ers’ injured reserve list on his birthday no less...
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you go and wish Kittle a happy belated birthday on social media. I have to imagine he has a bit of down time at the moment and I’m sure he’d appreciate seeing the love sent his way!
49ers placed TE George Kittle, who was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game vs. Arizona, on injured reserve, sidelining him three games. Team believes he then should be ready to return.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 9, 2021
Every other week it feels like rookie defensive tackle, Daviyon Nixon, is making the plays and doing athletic things that really jump out as far as the eye test goes and this week was no exception.
As we all know, regardless of how he tested, Nixon is a talented player and an explosive athlete who can do things that a lot of other players who are his size are simply incapable of doing.
I keep saying it, but if he somehow winds up receiving a bump in snaps as the season goes on... watch out. Nixon could find himself firmly stationed on the rest of the league’s radar.
Love this here from rookie DT Daviyon Nixon who’s having an excellent rookie season. Plays with great leverage, engages the guard, wins with power then finishes with the swim move right over top before getting after the QB.— The 4 Man Rush (@4ourmanrush) October 12, 2021
Nixon is looking like a late round gem. pic.twitter.com/EdNj9o24oJ
Welcome to the list, Jaleel Johnson.
In week five, Johnson wound up finding the ball and securing a turnover on a crucial play for the Houston Texans. Yes, the Texans did go on to lose the game, despite the Texans’ defense continuing to play surprisingly well this season, all things considered.
That said, it’s nice to see Johnson getting back in the groove with an NFL team and making plays.
Ruling on the field is it's a fumble, overturning the Patriots' touchdown. Damien Harris fumble forced by Terrance Mitchell. Big play and call. Texans lead Patriots 12-6. Jaleel Johnson fumble recovery— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 10, 2021
Speaking of the Texans, former Hawkeye linebacker, Christian Kirksey, just continues to outperform his contract for yet another week, as Kirksey’s impact on this Texans defense can’t be understated.
In week five, Kirksey led the Texans on defense with 10 total tackles (four solo tackles) and one pass breakup in a devastating 25-22 loss to the New England Patriots.
That said, Kirksey also doubles as a phenomenal leader who players seem to easily gravitate towards at each of his NFL stops over the years. Sure, there’s a lot of value in production, but with a young team doing its best to win games list the Houston Texans, leadership is immeasurable and Kirksey seems to be one of the guys providing it.
Texans linebacker and defensive signal caller Christian Kirksey @Kirko58 delivers message to teammates before kickoff against Patriots. Following a 40-0 road loss to Bills, Texans are on a three-game losing streak @SportsTalk790 @iHeartRadio pic.twitter.com/xMY4tGh4dC— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 10, 2021
Ahhhh ... now it makes sense why the Texans defense has been the steadiest performing side of the ball this season. They have three former Hawkeyes on all three levels of the field making plays.
Given his contract and talent, Desmond King will likely be a trade target for a number of contending teams out there as the season moves along and rightfully so. In week five, King recorded nine total tackles (six solo tackles) and was one of the more consistent members of the Texans’ pass coverage unit.
Moving forward, expect that to continue being the case, as King plays himself into yet another contract.
David Culley says the #Texans secondary with Desmond King at outside corner, Tavierre Thomas at slot corner and Justin Reid/Lonnie Johnson at safety is their best alignment right now.— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) October 11, 2021
"We feel like that's the best group for us."
Following the 53-man roster cuts prior to week one of the NFL season, it was possible that former Hawkeye cornerback, Greg Mabin, had reached the end of his road in terms of his playing career in the NFL.
That said, this past week, Mabin was signed to the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in an under-the-radar move that I was so glad to see.
Hopefully Mabin is able to do his part as far as prep work is concerned for this Cardinals squad throughout the upcoming weeks and is able to stick around the NFL for a little while longer!
Cardinals sign Koda Martin, Tavien Feaster and Greg Mabin to practice squad— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 6, 2021
Following the release of former Hawkeye defensive end turned NFL tight end, Parker Hesse. It was unknown what his future might hold as far as having a viable NFL career was concerned.
That said, this past Tuesday, Hesse was resigned by the Atlanta Falcons to their practice squad in a move that we were all hoping would happen. It’s so awesome to see a couple former Hawkeyes get another chance in the league and hopefully more of them follow in their footsteps in the near future!
Falcons sign Parker Hesse to practice squad, cut Elliott Fry and George Obinna from practice squad— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 12, 2021