Three former Hawkeyes drafted, others sign

BY DANNY PAYNE | MAY 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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Three former Iowa football players were drafted into the NFL over the weekend, and several others signed with NFL teams. Houston selected C.J. Fiedorowicz in the third round (65th overall), Christian Kirksey went 71st overall to Cleveland later in the third round, and Anthony Hitchens went in the fourth round (119th overall) to Dallas.

Fiedorowicz, a first-team-All-Big Ten selection in 2013, hauled in 30 passes for 299 yards and 6 touchdowns during his senior year at Iowa. His size is one of his biggest assets, as is his ability to block. The Johnsburg, Ill., native is one of five tight ends on Houston’s roster.

Kirksey shouldn’t come as a surprise to Browns’ fans, because Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine said he values players such as the former Iowa outside linebacker.

“I’ve always been one I’d rather have smaller guys that are faster,” the Browns coach said at the NFL combine in February. “Sometimes, the best place where that shows up is with your linebacker corps; you look for run-and-hit guys who can go sideline to sideline.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Hawkeyes was Hitchens. The linebacker didn’t blow anyone out of the water at the combine, but his toughness and ability to play special teams are a large part of his being drafted. It certainly didn’t hurt his cause that Dallas’ linebacker coach, Matt Eberflus, coached with Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker at Toledo. Hitchens is one of seven defensive players drafted by the Cowboys.

Former Hawkeyes signing free agent contracts were Tanner Miller (Green Bay), Conor Boffeli (Minnesota), Casey Krieter (Dallas), James Morris (New England), and Brett Van Sloten (Baltimore). Don Shumpert will have a tryout with Chicago.

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