You gotta give the Iowa Hawkeyes credit, they’re flat out consistent when it comes to developing pro prospects. When was the last time there was an NFL Draft without a Hawkeye being selected? Ready for this? 1977. Just since 2010, 22 Hawkeyes have been selected, including 3 in the most recent draft. So who are the top 2015 NFL Draft prospects for the Hawkeyes this fall? We’ll start on offense.
It wouldn’t be Iowa unless there was a freakishly gifted offensive lineman, and this year is no different with LT Brandon Scherff entering the season arguably as the top tackle prospect in the nation. Scherff is an athlete in the finest sense: in high school he was the star QB, star pitcher on the baseball team, star basketball player, state champion shot putter and a member of the tennis team. That kind of athleticism is abundantly clear on film, and when you include his unbelievable strength (both upper and lower body), he’s a force to be reckoned with.
At 6-foot 5, 323-pounds, he has the size to play either inside or out at a very high level in the NFL, and has plenty of experience playing inside at guard. He gives a heck of a punch off the ball and plays with good leverage and pad level. He has very good footwork and is elite at getting to the second level.
In terms of pass pro he’s not as developed as he is in the run game, and can be fooled on a quick counter inside, but has the raw tools to be an elite edge protector at the next level. A high character guy with top notch intangibles, a fiery disposition and a love of competition. Lot to like about this guy.
Inside is junior center Austin Blythe, a 6-foot 3, 290-pound converted guard. This guy moves really well and seals off at a high level. He’s not as explosive off the snap as you’d maybe like, but he makes up for it with good strength and mechanics. He’s solid in both run and pass attacks, can get to the second level and shows good awareness picking up inside blitzes. He’s really adapted to playing center very well, and looks like a natural at the position. If he improves as much from his sophomore to junior year as well he did freshman to sophomore, he could really start moving up boards.
Someone who will benefit from the two hogmollies just mentioned is senior RB Mark Weisman, a powerful runner at 6-foot, 240-pounds. Weisman will likely be forced to play a hybrid H-back/ fullback role at the next level as he just doesn’t have enough top-shelf speed or quickness to be a tailback, but he will offer an impressive short-yardage power threat. He has good vision and his north-south running style rarely gets him caught behind the line of scrimmage. And though not a prominent 3rd down back, he still has good hands out of the backfield and is a willing and able blocker.
Other guys to keep an eye on? RT Andrew Donnal, RB Damon Bullock and WR Kevonte Martin-Manley.