NFL Draft guide | Where Iowa’s prospects are projected to go

Catch up on what experts are saying about Tyler Linderbaum and other former Hawkeyes ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.


Grace Smith

Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum prepares to snap the football during the 2022 Vrbo Citrus Bowl between No. 15 Iowa and No. 22 Kentucky at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes, 20-17.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa’s All-American, Rimington Award-winning center Tyler Linderbaum is projected to be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

If Linderbaum’s wait to hear his name calls ends up being a long one, that will likely be because, as Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz pointed out, some NFL teams have expressed concerns about the three-year starter’s height, weight, and his “short” arms.

The 6-foot-2, 296-pound center is a “small man,” which “worries” an anonymous Pro Personnel Director for an NFC team, who spoke about Linderbaum to Pushing back on those criticisms, Ferentz compared Linderbaum to former Iowa offensive linemen Marshal Yanda and Brandon Scherff, who he remembers having similar doubts placed on them. Yanda, an eight-time Pro Bowler, played 13 seasons for the Baltimore Ravens after being selected in the third round of the draft. Scherff, who just signed a three-year, $49.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, is a five-time Pro Bowler and former top-five pick.

Ferentz sees Linderbaum following a similar path to those two accomplished Hawkeyes.

“Every team is different in how they [draft],” Ferentz said. “But Tyler is kind of unusual. I told the guys at the pro day, there’s really not a lot to tell you because everything he is, it’s on film. I guess his arms [31 1/8″] weren’t quite as long as somebody wants. We have a lot of guys like that, too. Had a bunch of them. Scherff just signed a pretty good contract. I’d rather have a guy that has his arms half an inch short that can actually block guys trying to block them.”

The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday with the first 32 picks of the draft, one of which may be spent on Linderbaum. The draft begins at 7 p.m. (CT) in Las Vegas and will air on ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network. Rounds two and three will be held on Friday night, then the draft will conclude with the final four rounds taking up most of Saturday.

Ahead of the draft, The Daily Iowan looked at where Iowa’s prospects are being projected to be picked and what analysts are saying about them.

Tyler Linderbaum

Linderbaum, the highest-graded center in the Pro Football Focus College era, is projected to be the 11th first-round pick in the 24-year Ferentz era at Iowa and the first since Tristan Wirfs went No. 13 overall in 2020.

“Everything he does, his résumé is on film,” Ferentz said of Linderbaum. “You meet the guy, had a couple teams comment on what their interview was like. One guy said he could probably coach our offensive line. It was that detailed, that thorough … He will be a guy in my mind that’s going to play the next 10, 12 years, play really well. Be a great guy on the team, in the locker room, all those things that are really invaluable.”

Here are some predictions from draft experts on where Linderbaum will land:

  • Pete Prisco, CBS Sports — 14th overall to the Baltimore Ravens
  • Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News — 14th overall to the Ravens
  • Will Brinson, CBS Sports — 18th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Ryan Wilson CBS Sports — 20th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Josh Edwards, CBS Sports — 24th overall to the Dallas Cowboys
  • Chris Trapassa, CBS Sports — 31st overall to Cincinnati Bengals
  • Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk — 31st overall to the Bengals
  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network — 31st overall to the Bengals
  • Chad Reuter, NFL Network — 33rd overall (first pick of the second round) to the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, ESPN — 33rd overall to the Jaguars

If he is drafted as high as Prisco and Iyer project, Linderbaum would be the first center selected in the top 15 since Steve Everitt in 1993. Linderbaum has drawn comparisons to former Colts center Jeff Saturday and longtime Eagles center Jason Kelce during the draft process.

“​​Linderbaum’s highly rated but falling because … people don’t want a center?” Brinson wrote. “He gets Jason Kelce comps, so why not grab him to replace … Jason Kelce?” analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report on Linderbaum that he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl player, but some teams may be concerned about his size.

“He has the foot quickness and GPS to consistently find top positioning in the first phase of the block,” Zierlein wrote. “He plays with leverage and body control to sustain and keep the running lane open. However, his size will make block finishing somewhat hit or miss and he will need help against some of the bigger defenders lining up across from him. Teams with certain size standards might pass on him but his tenacity and talent make him a can’t-miss prospect if matched in the right scheme.”

Tyler Goodson

Tyler Goodson ran for 1,151 yards and added 247 more catching passes in his junior season at Iowa.

The 5-foot-5, 197-pound running back, like Linderbaum and defensive back Dane Belton, declared for the 2022 NFL Draft as an early-entrant. Trapasso and’s Chad Reuter both have Goodson going in the fourth round. Trapasso has the Georgian going to his hometown Atlanta Falcons at 114th overall, while Reuter has Goodson being selected 141st by the Ravens.

Sporting News’ mock draft has Goodson going undrafted.

“Runner with average size and athleticism, and below-average toughness to add yardage beyond what his offensive line creates for him,” Zierlein wrote. “Goodson played in Iowa’s zone-heavy run scheme but lacks elements like vision and decisiveness, which are usually associated with successful zone runners on the pro level. He rarely runs with authority or a willingness to create for himself through contact and doesn’t appear to have explosive top-end speed to lean on. There aren’t traits or positional skills that stand out enough to warrant more than a late-round glance.”

Dane Belton

 A first-team All-Big Ten defensive back, Belton recorded five interceptions and five tackles while playing “Cash,” a hybrid safety-linebacker position in Iowa’s defense, during his final season as a Hawkeye.

Reuter has Belton going in the 147th overall in the fifth round of the draft to the New York Giants. Iyer had Belton going 143rd overall in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans. Belton went undrafted in CBS Sports’ mock draft.

“Belton’s interception total and overall ball production from Iowa’s hybrid ‘Cash’ spot certainly grab your attention, but they might not be indicative of his NFL projection,” Zierlein wrote. “Belton has average size, can line up over tight ends and excels in short-zone coverages, where his ball skills and anticipation bring him to the action. He lacks the suddenness to stay with route breaks underneath and will be exploited if asked to cover on the back end.

“Belton has the physical ability for run support, but defensive coordinators are sure to be concerned about his trouble reading keys and locating the football on the collegiate level.”

Other Hawkeyes in the mix

Though they are not widely projected to be drafted, defensive end Zach VanValkenburg, cornerback Matt Hankins, safety Jack Koerner, guard Kyler Schott, and kicker Caleb Shudak are players expected to be priority undrafted free agents.

These players, and perhaps other Hawkeyes who are not selected, will likely be reached out to by NFL teams and signed to contracts after the draft.