Well, another interesting NFL Draft Combine has officially come to a close for a few notable former Hawkeyes going through the NFL Draft ringer and the good news is that neither Tyler Goodson nor Dane Belton – the only two Hawkeye performers who tested – performed poorly.
That’s a refreshing takeaway as it pertains to our favorite former Hawkeyes, because over the last few years, it feels like there’s at least one player in each draft cycle who drastically underwhelms from an athleticism testing perspective and consequently ends up falling later than they should in the draft. Daviyon Nixon, A.J. Epenesa and Desmond King are a few of the more notable names who come to mind.
That said, making note of that, athleticism testing and measuring height, weight, hand size, etc. is just one part of the process. At certain positions, specific athleticism tests can be weighed more than others, but a poor performance at the combine or during a pro-day, while wearing compression shorts, isn’t going to completely tank any player’s NFL future.
All that said, let’s go through how each Hawkeye performed at the 2022 NFL Draft Combine.
Talk about a surprise … at least from my point of view. Having seen Tyler Goodson on the field for Iowa over the past few seasons, it’s painfully obvious to see how much his quickness and burst would tend to decrease as the season went on each year and that’s really no surprise for a player with his build in the role he was asked to perform in.
Goodson’s build of 5’9”, 197-pounds is not equipped to handle massive workloads throughout a long season and when you factor in small, often unreported injuries that every player deals with throughout a football season on top of the colder weather rolling in, which makes players feel a bit tighter, the estimated speed and overall athleticism you tend to estimate about a player can sometimes be skewed.
Coming into the combine, many people were slotting Goodson’s projected 40-yard dash time in the range of 4.55-4.60, so with Goodson positing an official time of 4.42, the takeaway from a time like that is going to make several scouts and people with personnel power go back and potentially go back and give his film a re-watch, which is what events like the combine and showcase events are all about.
In addition to his 40-yard dash time, Goodson posted a vertical jump of 36.5 inches as well as a broad jump of 123 inches. Both of those numbers are very impressive and really highlight Goodson’s overall athletic profile. Ultimately a performance like that, even with him skipping out on the agility or hip fluidity drills, should really earn him some second looks from a lot of NFL teams and that’s all you can ask for.
The other combine performer representing the Iowa Hawkeyes this past weekend, was former safety, Dane Belton, who had an alright, but certainly not great weekend from a testing perspective in Indy.
Let’s start with the good first, and that brings us to Belton’s 40-yard dash time as well as his jumps.
In the 40-yard dash, Belton posted a time of 4.43, which is a very good number for a player like Belton whose potential NFL role is still a bit murky. Is Belton a safety? Is he a linebacker? Is he a hybrid of both potentially? I imagine the answer to that question varies from team to team. Regardless, posting a good number in the 40-yard dash keeps alive the possibility of being a versatile piece or valuable special teamer, which is important.
In addition to a good 40 time, Belton also posted a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and a broad jump of 123 inches, which are both great numbers that really highlight Belton’s explosiveness, which if you’ve seen him play before … you already knew there was no issue in that department.
That said, things weren’t all great for Belton during his combine performance, as he posted below average numbers in both the 3-cone drill and 20-yard short shuttle, which are two tests designed to test hip fluidity and overall agility. These are a couple of big tests that a lot of NFL teams value when evaluating defensive backs, because being able to change direction at a high level is one of the most common traits among defensive backs who have experienced sustained success at the NFL level.
Those two poor testing numbers are sure to look a bit worse as well when team’s go back and watch Belton’s tape and see that, although he didn’t called a lot for it, he did have a tendency to be a bit more physical and grabby in pass coverage, which most likely has to deal with that lack of elite change of direction that we just talked about.
All that said, the combine isn’t the end all be all and he’ll have ample time to try and perform better once Iowa’s pro-day comes along.
Although Tyler Linderbaum didn’t exactly perform this week in Indy due a lingering issue from Iowa’s Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky, he was still present at the combine in order to conduct interviews and take questions at his press conference.
There’s really not much to add because most of the value he provided this past week came behind closed doors, but I figured it was important to include him on this list in case you wondering what was going on with him.