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April 28, 2012

Six Hawkeyes drafted

For the third straight year, six Iowa Football players were selected in the NFL Draft.

That's something no other college football team can say about their program and certainly speaks to the development of players under Kirk Ferentz and the respect that the Hawkeye program has in NFL circles.

After Riley Reiff was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round with the 23rd overall pick, Iowa fans had to wait more than 100 picks before another Hawkeye was selected and it wasn't who most expected.

With the 132nd overall pick and the 37th in the 4th round, the Green Bay Packers selected Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels. Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers took notice of Daniels last year while evaluating former Hawkeyes Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, and Karl Klug, who were all picked in the 2011 NFL Draft.

"We think he's an all-football guy," Capers said. "The thing that jumps out at me is the way he plays the game. He plays the game with quickness, intensity. I think he'll bring a sense of energy with him."

Daniels led Iowa in tackles for loss the last two years and Capers sees him as an inside rush player on the defensive line when the Packers are in their nickel package.

Nine picks later with the 6th pick in the 5th round of the NFL Draft, Washington selected Iowa offensive lineman Adam Gettis, who saw his stock rise with a strong performance that the NFL Combine in February.

Gettis should be a good fit with the Redskins, who prefer more mobile offensive lineman in their zone blocking scheme.

With the 21st pick in the 5th round, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater. Earlier in the draft the Bengals had Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick to add to their secondary. Head Coach Marvin Lewis expects Prater to come in and immediately help with the Bengals special teams, which is something he excelled at while playing for the Hawkeyes.

"He was one of their outside gunners and will be a great guy competing for those spots with us here," Lewis said. "He's been a great guy in coverage at Iowa. They play a lot of quarters coverage which we like to play-with him out there playing some of that-and then clouding up, so he's done a couple of things that will transfer well coming into the NFL."

One of the biggest surprises of the draft was how long it took Marvin McNutt to come off the board. Iowa's all time leading receiver lasted until the 6th round when the Philadelphia Eagles finally ended his wait.

Coach Andy Reid has a little bit of help in getting the inside scoop on McNutt. Current Hawkeye Greg Castillo plays defensive back for the Hawkeyes and has gone head to head with McNutt on a daily basis and let his father, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, know that the he would be a great selection.

"We had a little bit an inside source at Iowa with Juan Castillo's son playing one of the corners there," Reid said. "What you see with Marvin is a big, physical receiver with great hands and a good character kid who is strong with the ball. You talk about making some unbelievable catches, you see it with this kid."

The final Hawkeye to hear his name called was Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine, who was the 10th selection of the 7th round and will join Gettis with the Washington Redskins. It marks the first time since 1984 that two Iowa players have been selected by the same team in the same NFL Draft. That year, running back Norm Granger and offensive lineman Joe Levelis were picked by the Dallas Cowboys.

Bernstine was not invited to the NFL Combine in February, but put on a show in March at Iowa's Pro Day and that got him on the radar of a lot of teams. He figures to add depth to the Redskins secondary and like Prater, fill the role of special teams gunner in coverage situations.

A few Iowa players who were not selected in the NFL Draft the past three days are starting to sign free agent deals with teams. Iowa offensive lineman Markus Zusevics has signed with the New England Patriots, according to a tweet from his agent, Jack Bechta. He will be joined in New England by Iowa tight end Brad Herman, according to ESPNBoston.com. Iowa defensive end Broderick Binns has signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals according to Scott Dochertman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Linebacker Tyler Nielsen has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings. Former Hawkeye punter Eric Guthrie tweeted that he has signed with Tampa Bay.

That brings the total number of Iowa players from this class who will be in NFL Camps to 11.


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