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Point/Counterpoint: Which former Hawkeye got drafted into the best situation?

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 27, 2010 7:30 AM

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Bryan Bulaga

As a Bears’ fan, I’m concerned.

With the Green Bay Packers drafting former Hawkeye standout Bryan Bulaga 23rd overall, there is sure to be fewer sacks allowed by the cheesehead offensive line this season and in seasons to come.

That should make Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers happy, seeing as the Green Bay offensive line allowed an NFL-high 51 sacks last season.

While all of the six Hawkeyes taken in last weekend’s NFL draft ended up in great situations — mostly because none of them were taken by the Raiders — there’s little doubt whether Bulaga is in the best situation.

Being the only Hawkeye drafted in the first round, he will make the most money, which puts the Crystal Lake, Ill., native in the best situation by default. But besides getting paid, he also has the best opportunity to immediately see on-field action.

The former Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year should have a chance to step into the starting lineup right away and provide much needed help to an aging Packer O-line. In addition, Bulaga has the opportunity to learn from one of the more experienced offensive lines in the NFL.

The veteran corps of Packer linemen should do for Bulaga what the Raiders haven’t done for fellow former Hawkeye Robert Gallery — develop him into a Pro-Bowl lineman.

Offensive tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher both have 11 years of NFL experience, successfully protecting the likes of Brett Favre and Rodgers, and Packer offensive-line coach Joe Philbin spent four years at Iowa as Kirk Ferentz’s offensive-line coach.

These individuals should provide integral advice to help Bulaga grow from an award-winning collegiate player to the All-Pro lineman that he’s capable of becoming.

— by Mitch Smith

Amari Spievey

The Detroit Lions came out of the NFL draft as one of the most improved teams in the league.

After making some noise in the free-agent market during the off-season, head coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Mart Mayhew went into the draft looking to take the best available talent.

They bolstered their young roster with big names, including Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best, and Amari Spievey.

The Lions needed to address their defense, which ranked 32nd in the league, giving up 30.9 points per game and a league-worst 265.6 yards through the air last season.

Spievey will enter training camp competing for a starting cornerback job, and considering how awful the Lions secondary is, I will go as far as to say he will be starting by the fourth game of the season — if not sooner.

I realize this is Detroit, and patting the team on the back for a “draft well done” is football blasphemy. But the Lions’ newly appointed brain trust now have two spectacular drafts and a talented core of players.

Some Lion fans might be slamming Spievey for his “slow” 4.52 second 40-yard dash time and questionable man-to-man coverage skills. But those people need to consider a few things.

The best wide receiver in the NFC North (Calvin Johnson) plays for Detroit, so Spievey will be contending against him on a daily basis, which should only make him a better face-up defender.

He also excels in jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. With the defensive line the Lions now have, his strength to push an opposing receiver out of bounds will keep the ball in the quarterbacks’ hands longer; giving newly acquired defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and Suh plenty of time to rush the quarterback.

Spievey is a shut-down corner with an amazing football IQ. He has a natural sense for where the football is — especially in a zone defense. But most importantly, he helps the Lions amp up a notoriously awful pass defense.

— by Jerry Scherwin Jr.

Pat Angerer

Perhaps no other former-Hawkeye draftee stepped into a better situation than linebacker Pat Angerer.

The defending AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts selected Angerer with the 63rd overall pick. With their selection, the Colts made Angerer only the second Hawkeye drafted out of the six to join a team with a winning record from last season.

Another benefit for Angerer is the Iowa connections in the Colts’ organization. Indianapolis has a history of success with former Hawkeyes in the NFL.

Angerer joins tight end Dallas Clark, safety Bob Sanders, and his former teammate and defensive tackle Mitch King on the roster. Even their head coach, Jim Caldwell, used to don the Black and Gold.

Besides joining a winning team and the obvious Iowa ties, Angerer will also have the opportunity to learn from one of the league’s best middle linebackers in Gary Brackett. The Colts recently signed the 29-year-old to a five-year contract extension.

Many have compared Angerer with Brackett in terms of physique and style of play, which is another reason Brackett makes such a perfect player to teach Angerer the keys of being a successful pro linebacker.

Along with Brackett, the Colts bring back their two other starting linebackers in Clint Session and Philip Wheeler. All three of the linebackers have regular-season, playoff, and Super Bowl experience.

However, this doesn’t mean Angerer won’t see any playing time. He will likely get to start out on special teams and see the field during nickel situations, all the while being groomed as Brackett’s eventual long-term replacement.

Angerer will also be ready to step in if Indianapolis’ linebacking corps suffers any injuries.

Regardless of where and when he plays, there’s no doubt Angerer joined one of the most successful football teams of the past decade. The Colts’ combination of talented young players, astute veterans, and top-notch coaching makes them — Angerer included — a perennial playoff and Super Bowl threat.

— by Ethan Sebert

Tony Moeaki

While Kansas City may never forget about ex-Chief tight end Tony Gonzalez, who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons, fans will soon be familiar with another Tony on the teams’ roster.

Tony Moeaki, selected by Kansas City in the third round at No. 93 overall, had an eventful career as a Hawkeye, spending five years in Iowa City because of a medical redshirt in 2007.

And despite being bugged by an ankle sprain for a portion of last season, Moeaki had 30 receptions for 387 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those scores came in the Homecoming victory against Michigan, which earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

While Bryan Bulaga and Pat Angerer will get early playing time with their respective squads, the Chiefs needed an upgrade at tight end, and Moeaki can affect his new squad as soon as this fall.

At the scouting combine, he recorded a 4.69 40-yard dash time and 9-5 broad jump, tied for fifth among tight ends.

Moeaki is a complete tight end, with his 6-4, 245 pound frame at the forefront.

To go along with his size and speed, Moeaki is also a superior run blocker, an attribute many college tight ends seem to lack. Moeaki will be effective in the pros for arguably that reason alone, a facet Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has praised before.

The Hawkeye captain made his strengths evident in the 2010 Orange Bowl, leading the way for freshmen running backs Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher.

Todd Haley’s team needs an every-down kind of guy, and Moeaki is such a player. By playing in a pro-style offense at Iowa, it will be easy for Moeaki to learn the playbook and step in immediately.

— by Matt Cozzi


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