Hawkeyes a Hit in NFL Draft

April 30, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When junior left tackle Riley Reiff was selected by Detroit in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the University of Iowa football program was once again listed among the national leaders in producing players for the highest level of competition.

Reiff is the third Hawkeye to be selected in the first round in the last three seasons, joining offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga (Green Bay) in 2010 and defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn (Tampa Bay) in 2011 as recent first round picks. Not only is Iowa the only Big Ten team able to make that claim, but the Hawkeye program joins national champion Alabama as the only two teams in the nation to accomplish the feat.

And, Iowa’s success in the NFL Draft doesn’t stop with first round selections. Additional Hawkeyes selected in the 2012 draft included defensive lineman Mike Daniels (Green Bay, fourth round), offensive lineman Adam Gettis (Washington, fifth round), defensive back Shaun Prater (Cincinnati, fifth round), wide receiver Marvin McNutt, Jr. (Philadelphia, sixth round), and defensive back Jordan Bernstine (Washington, seventh round).

Including the six players drafted over the weekend, Iowa has had 18 players selected over the past three seasons. The Hawkeyes also had six players drafted in 2010 and 2011. Iowa’s total of 18 players is the most ever for the Iowa program in a three year period. Iowa had 16 players selected from 1956-58 and again from 1958-60.

The 18 Iowa selections in the last three seasons ranks best in the Big Ten Conference and ties for third best in the nation. Six selections in the 2012 draft tied as the best in the Big Ten and tied for fourth most in the nation.

In addition to the Iowa players who were selected in the draft, several additional former Hawkeyes will sign NFL free agent contracts. As of Sunday afternoon five Hawkeyes had already signed contracts. Offensive lineman Markus Zusevics and tight end Brad Herman will join the New England Patriots, defensive end Broderick Binns will join the Arizona Cardinals, linebacker Tyler Nielsen is headed to the Minnesota Vikings and punter Eric Guthrie has signed with Tampa Bay. A year ago, 12 former Hawkeyes were rookies in NFL training camps.

Following the 2012 draft, Iowa’s number of players selected into the NFL under Kirk Ferentz is even more impressive. Fifty-one Hawkeye players have been selected overall, including six first round selections.

Since the 2003 NFL draft, no school in the nation has had more offensive linemen selected than Iowa. With the addition of Riley Reiff and Adam Gettis in the 2012 draft, 13 Hawkeye offensive linemen have been selected in that time.

In addition to the offensive linemen, the breakdown by position under Ferentz includes 11 defensive backs, nine defensive linemen, seven tight ends, four linebackers, three wide receivers, two running backs, one quarterback and one place kicker.

Iowa players who have been drafted have enjoyed success in professional football. The Hawkeyes had a player leave after their junior year in both 2009 (Bulaga) and 2010 (defensive back Tyler Sash). Bulaga started at right tackle for the Green Bay Packers in 2010 as the Packers concluded the season as Super Bowl champions. Last season Sash was a key contributor as the New York Giants won the Super Bowl.

Reiff, who also left the Iowa program following his junior season, was selected by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2012 draft.

Could Reiff and the Lions make it three in a row for a Hawkeye rookie?