Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The Iowa Hawkeyes failed to have a player drafted in the first round for the first time in three years, primarily because of the intangibles of defensive end Matt Roth (and the fact that their two-year run of all-American offensive linemen was interrupted). The two-time all-conference pass rusher was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 46th pick overall (ahead of linemate Jonathan Babineaux who was selected with the 59th pick by Atlanta). Roth's stock rose considerably after the senior bowl where he dominated, but slowly dropped as that became a memory and his workout statistics came in a shade below other high profile pass rushers like Erasmus James and Marcus Spears. Whatever his time in the 40, Roth's intensity is unmatched, he is durable, and I predict that he will find NFL success.
As is often the case with the Hawkeyes, the most interesting stories are about the successful development of the unheralded, and Sean Considine is this year's example. Considine almost ended up in Division III before getting the last campus visit to Iowa on the strength of an unsolicited tape he sent into the program. He was invited to walk on and, with hard work and good coaching, became a star, demonstrating once again that the program knows something about player development (having sent former walk-on Dallas Clark to the pros in the first round of the 2003 draft). Considine was selected by the Eagles with the 102 pick, and joins the growing ranks of former Hawkeyes at the safety position, including Bob Sanders, Derrick Pagel, and Matt Bowen (not to mention former all-pro Merton Hanks). A smart player and under rated athlete, Considine will no doubt start his career as a special teams player, but don't be surprised if he ends up getting considerable playing time later in the season. Like many recent products of Ferentz's program, Considine's edge will be in his work ethic and knowledge of the game.
If the draft is, as Sports Prof suggests, an indication of whether or not a college program is "elite," than the 2005 draft confirms that the Iowa program is moving in that direction. A total of five Hawkeyes were drafted, bringing the three-year total to 15, a number exceeded only once in the history of the program (and not, as one might suspect, in the Hayden Fry era).
The Hawkeyes are in fact back at the top with the Big Two again, as they have been from time to time. Five draftees is two more than Michigan, though U of M had three of the top 33.
Fortunately for Iowa's reputation as the home of hard-working humble players, none of their draftees has yet been reported as having already ordered a Bentley (like Braylon Edwards).
It should be a good year at the top of the Big Ten.
My only quibble with this post is the characterization of Marcus Spears as a premier passrusher --- I see him more as a massive 3-4 end with some pass rush skills but is predominately a solid run defender who will command interior linemen double teams.
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