Looking toward the NFL

Iowa+quarterback+C.J.+Beathard+runs+with+the+ball+during+the+Iowa-Minnesota+game+at+Kinnick+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+14%2C+2013.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Golden+Gophers%2C+40-35+to+stay+perfect+on+the+season.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FMargaret+Kispert%29

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard runs with the ball during the Iowa-Minnesota game at Kinnick on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2013. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 40-35 to stay perfect on the season. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Iowa’s pro day is in the books, and 18 Hawkeyes were able to show their stuff in front of 31 NFL teams — the lone exception being the Philadelphia Eagles, according to NFL.com.

Austin Bythe, one of Iowa’s best chances to continue the Hawks’ 37-year streak of having at least one player drafted by the NFL (assuming defensive end Drew Ott’s medical redshirt is accepted by the NCAA) once again showed why he’s getting a serious look.

Blythe, who was invited to the NFL combine along with Ott, Jordan Lomax, and Marshall Koehn, had his biggest improvement in the short shuttle, where his time went from 4.53 to 4.05. The former Iowa center was knocked for his shorter-than-average arm length and slow 40-yard dash time but was redeemed a bit with the improved shuttle time.

Currently listed as the sixth-best center prospect by CBSsports.com, he projects as a late-round pick.

“I just came in wanting to improve everything I did at the combine,” Blythe said. “I showed people who I was athletically, and I think I did that today.”

One of the stronger offensive lineman at the combine, Blythe put up 29 bench press reps in Indianapolis though declined to do it again.

A smart, capable athlete with good foot speed and an explosive first step, he feels confident as he looks toward the draft.

“It’s been fun — it’s a short window of my life and something I’ll never be able to do again,” Blythe said. “So, basically, I just have to go after it.”

Krieger Coble moving up draft boards

After impressing scouts during January’s Senior Bowl, Henry Krieger Coble seemed to have another good performance during pro day.

It was a surprise to many that Krieger Coble was not invited to the NFL Combine, and Monday was his chance to impress scouts.

“I think it went well, and there was definitely a lot of anticipation leading up to it,” he said. “Now having done it, it feels like a big relief, and it ended up pretty well, and I feel good about it.”

There is a long list of Iowa tight ends that have carved out careers in the NFL, and it seems fairly likely Krieger Coble will add to that.

Deemed the 10th-best tight end prospect by CBS, he’s listed as a potential sixth-round pick. While his numbers weren’t anything too special (35 catches, 405 yards, 1 touchdown), he displayed flashes of incredible athleticism.

Standing 6-3 and weighing 249 pounds, he has good size, and when combined with the refined blocking techniques taught by the Iowa coaching staff, it makes him a tantalizing late-round grab.

“This was my combine, and like a lot of other guys here, we didn’t get invited,” he said. “We did the same stuff they do at the combine, and we knew we had to do well to give ourselves a good chance to keep playing.”

Best of the rest

Iowa wide receiver Tevaun Smith also had a solid outing.

At 6-foot, 205, he has nice size and ran a blazing fast 4.38 40, a time that would have been the third-fastest among wide receivers at the combine.

In addition, NFL.com reported him having a 38-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-2 broad jump, and he put up 13 repetitions of the bench press. That is an impressive workout, and Smith might have made himself some money with those numbers.

Kicker Koehn also seemed to do well, sending 10 kickoffs into the end zone, went 12-for-12 kicking with the wind and 3-of-4 against it. His longest reported make was from 55 yards out.

Jordan Walsh (projected as a seventh-round pick by CBS) also said he was happy with his workout. The other major lineman prospect of this year’s senior class, it seems likely he’ll get a shot to prove his stuff as well.

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