Hawkeye football players discuss Iowa’s reputation among NFL scouts, coaches after pro day

Multiple players said scouts and coaches said Iowa is well-known for turning out NFL-ready prospects.


Grace Smith

Iowa fullback Monte Pottebaum carries the ball during a football game between No. 16 Iowa and Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Corn Huskers 28-21. (Grace Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

Scouts and coaches from across the NFL came to Iowa City on Monday to meet with former Hawkeye football players set to enter the draft and watch them participate in various drills.

All the players who spoke to the media Monday had already met with representatives from at least a few NFL teams before the pro day. Those players — including offensive lineman Jack Plumb, fullback Monte Pottebaum, and linebackers Seth Benson and Jack Campbell — said Iowa’s reputation among the NFL’s roster builders is alive and well.

“I mean, all the guys that come in here already know how [head coach Kirk Ferentz] runs things,” Benson said. “… We’re going to be detailed, it’s going to be, boom, boom, boom, you know, we’re doing this, this, this, this, our guys gonna be ready.”

Benson said scouts know what types of players the Iowa coaches recruit, and that gives them comfort when deciding who to look at. Benson also mentioned defensive coordinator Phil Parker as a reason why so many Iowa defensive players get picked up by NFL clubs. 

“There’s a stability with KF and coach Parker,” Benson said. “[The scouts and coaches] just know how we’re wired, and they tell you that, coming to Iowa, we have an edge on other guys just how we do things.”

After the 2020 draft, Iowa’s 75 draft picks since 2000 ranked the Hawkeyes 18th among the 306 schools that had players selected in that period.

In the 2021 and 2022 drafts, Iowa had two and four players selected, respectively.

“I think Iowa does a really good job, we’re really structured,” Plumb said. “We call it the Iowa Edge, different than every team, and we’ve been putting guys in the NFL forever so it’s a great school to come to to get ready for the NFL. I think it shows year in and year out with how many guys we have in the NFL.”

Pottebaum said pillars of the Iowa program came up in a meeting he had with a team on Sunday night. 

“I was talking to Steelers last night,” Pottebaum said. “And they were talking about how they want players that are tough mentally and physically. The characteristics they’re looking for in a player kind of match up with exactly what Iowa players are in my mind.”

Campbell, who is projected to go in the second or third round, said the scouts he has talked to communicated to him that drafting an Iowa player is a safe bet.

“I feel like Iowa’s put a lot of guys in the league and what you see is what you’re gonna get,” Campbell said. “I feel like there’s not many surprises …  a lot of scouts and guys tell me that when they draft an Iowa guy, they know what they’re gonna get. They’re gonna get a true professional.”

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