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Buy or Sell: NFL Iowa rookie edition

BY DANNY PAYNE AND JOSHUA BOLANDER | MAY 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Buy or Sell: Iowa will have at least five rookies on NFL rosters come the first week of the NFL season.

Bolander: Sell. Every year, nearly half the first round of NFL draft picks enter the league as big, fat, busts, just waiting to be exposed by the sheer speed and complexity of the NFL game. If I were to “buy” this statement, one would have to persuade me that more than half of Iowa’s rookie class will make NFL teams — and that won’t happen.

There are currently 24 Hawkeyes on NFL rosters, not including this year’s crop of Iowa rookies. Of those, at least five will be fighting to stay in the league.

No way Iowa has five rookies on rosters come Week One; it’s just not happening.

Payne: Buy. Barring injury, Christian Kirksey, C.J. Fiedorowicz, and Anthony Hitchens are virtual locks to make their respective rosters. They’re all competitors and versatile enough to find a spot.

I think James Morris makes the Patriots based solely off his brain, Brett Van Sloten is one of three offensive tackles currently on Baltimore’s active roster. Conor Boffeli and Casey Kreiter could find ways to make teams, too. Don’t count out B.J. Lowery to find his way onto a roster, either. There are enough Iowa guys on the market to find five.

Buy or Sell. Houston Texans’ third-round pick C.J. Fiedorowicz will make the biggest impact of any Iowa rookie in its 2014 class.

Bolander: Sell. Call me crazy, but I think Kirksey ends up being Iowa’s most productive rookie in 2014-15. Other than LSU second-year man Barkevious Mingo and established linebackers Karlos Dansby and Paul Kruger, no other Browns linebacker had more than 20 tackles in 2013.

Think about that: Tank Carder, Zac Diles, Darius Eubanks, Quentin Groves, Brandon Magee, Eric Martin, and Jaball Sheard all failed to reach an Andrew Jackson in tackles last season. That is Kirksey’s competition during camp.

The guy can compete. And he will certainly produce.

Payne: Buy. Fiedorowicz is a scary dude. Say he puts on a few pounds and gets a few seam routes from whoever is going to be manning the Houston offense and you have an above-average tight end.

He’ll have to battle to see the field with Garret Graham and Ryan Griffin listed on the Texans’ depth chart right now, but they wouldn’t have spent a third-round pick on a third-string tight end (I hope).
Like most Hawkeyes, Fiedorowicz won’t blow anyone away, but he’ll have a nice career under his belt when he retires.

Buy or sell. Iowa will have more players drafted or signed in 2015 then it did this year.

Bolander: Buy. Easy choice here, buy. So far Iowa has had 10 guys offered a chance to compete for a job in the National Football League. Of those players, three make teams for sure (see Fiedorowicz, Kirksey, Hitchens), four have a chance (Morris, Kreiter, Van Sloten, Boffeli), and three more than likely won’t make it out of rookie minicamps (B.J. Lowery, Don Shumpert, Tanner Miller).

Next year, Iowa has Carl Davis and Brandon Scherff, who could both crack the first round as experienced difference makers, and several other Hawkeyes on both the defensive and offensive lines can make an NFL roster as well. Not to mention that a number of other Black and Gold skill-position players will pursue an opportunity in the league.

Payne: Sell. I’m going with Bolander on Davis and Scherff, particularly the latter, but after that, it’s up in the air. I’m looking through the roster to find four more and these are the names that jump out at me: Mark Weisman, Kevonte Martin-Manley, Quinton Alston, Ray Hamilton, Louis Trinca-Pasat, Mike Hardy. I’m missing people, I know, but I have a word count.

I’m not sold on anyone right now; this year is a huge indicator. Weisman will have to be a fullback to play in the league, Martin-Manley needs a breakout year, Alston needs to live up to the hype. Generally, a lot of things have to go their way.


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