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Point/Counterpoint: How many Hawkeyes will be drafted?

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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More than six

Kirk Ferentz is saying goodbye to a talented senior class. A class that helped him hoist the Orange Bowl trophy in 2010. During its four years, the group went 3-0 in postseason play. Sure, this past season's 8-5 record was a letdown. Nobody thought the Hawkeyes would end up playing at the Insight Bowl in Tempe.

But don't let the mediocre season fool you — Iowa's graduating class is stacked.

When you look at the roster, five players stick out as "sure thing" draft picks. Everybody knows Adrian Clayborn will go, most likely in the first round. Most experts project fellow D-line stud Christian Ballard to go in the second round.

Safety Tyler Sash is another defensive player who will be picked. He didn't blow anybody away with his speed or athleticism, but he is physical, and NFL scouts love that.

Then there's quarterback Ricky Stanzi. The guy has proven himself a winner. And he even learned how to avoid throwing picks in his senior campaign, which was a huge boost for his draft stock.

Stanzi will be taken because he's a proven leader and has matured in a pro-style offense.

And who could forget Ryan Donahue, the most valuable special-team player to sport the Black and Gold since Nate Kaeding. He probably won't go until the seventh round because, well, he's a punter. But he is the best punter in the 2011 class.

Outside the five guarantees, you've got Renaissance man Julian Vandervelde. He is a bit undersized and not the most physically gifted athlete, but playing on the O-line takes an incredible amount of wit and work ethic — two qualities Vandervelde has in spades.

Throw in Karl Klug and Allen Reisner — both potential late-round picks — and Iowa will set a school record for most players taken in the draft.

Nothing is certain, but the Hawkeyes are sending out a talented group, many of whom will make waves in the NFL.

— Jon Frank

Fewer than six

The number of Hawkeye football players selected this weekend in the NFL draft will be under six. Only four or five players are a lock to be selected.

No. 1 — Adrian Clayborn. He was considered a top-five pick before the season began, but he has fallen down draft boards because of a subpar performance this past season and questions about his Erb's palsy condition. Right now, Clayborn is projected to be drafted anywhere from the 20th pick to sliding to the early second round.

No. 2 — Christian Ballard, the versatile defensive tackle/end. Teams are concerned about Ballard's consistency, but his ability to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme and line up anywhere on the defensive line has teams salivating. ESPN projected Ballard as a first-round pick after the Senior Bowl in January, but Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have Ballard as a second- or third-round selection.

No. 3 — Ricky Stanzi. There are concerns about his arm strength and consistency, but Stanzi would be an ideal future starter for many teams in need of a quarterback.

The other players I expect to be drafted are safety Tyler Sash and tight end Allen Reisner. Iowa tight ends regularly get drafted, and Reisner could continue the streak. Sash is an above-average athlete with average size, but he was an extremely productive player and leader for the Hawkeyes' defense. Both should be mid- to late-rounds picks.

As far as other players eligible for the draft: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos ruined his stock with his drug arrest. Linebacker Jeff Tarpinian could get drafted thanks to his impressive pro day, but concerns with his durability do exist after a college career checkered with injuries.

Brett Morse and Ryan Donahue both play positions, fullback and punter, that rarely — if ever — get drafted, but Donahue will for sure be signed by an NFL team. Karl Klug, Julian Vandervelde, Jeremiha Hunter, and Brett Greenwood won't get drafted because of their limited upside.

A total of five players will have their names called on draft day from Iowa.

— by Ben Wolfson


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