NFL Draft roundup | Tracking where former Hawkeyes landed

Both Lukas Van Ness and Jack Campbell went off the board in the first round on Thursday, and four total Hawkeyes were drafted in the three-day event.

Iowa+defensive+lineman+Lukas+Van+Ness+competes+in+a+drill+with+defensive+end+Brian+Allen+during+a+spring+practice+at+Kinnick+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+April+23%2C+2022.

Jerod Ringwald

Iowa defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness competes in a drill with defensive end Brian Allen during a spring practice at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor


Iowa football was one of just five teams that had multiple first round picks on the opening night of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State had three picks each in the first round; Clemson joined Iowa to have two.

Throughout the three-day event, the Hawkeyes had four players drafted to the NFL. The Daily Iowan took a look at when and where the Hawkeyes landed this weekend.

Lukas Van Ness

Van Ness didn’t start a game for the Hawkeyes, but he still became a top-15 pick in the NFL Draft.

The defensive lineman went 13th overall to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night. Spotrac projects Van Ness to sign a $17.4 million rookie contract, including a $9.6 million signing bonus.

The Barrington, Illinois, product spent three years with the Hawkeye football program. He redshirted his first year with the Hawkeyes in 2020.

He racked up seven sacks in 2021 and 6.5 in 2022 as a reserve lineman, tying for the team lead both years. He is also an established special teams player, tying Iowa’s single-game record with two blocked punts against Iowa State on Sept. 10, 2022.

RELATED: Former Hawkeye Lukas Van Ness picked by Green Bay Packers in first round of NFL Draft

“He has size, speed, explosiveness, power, all the things we look for in an edge rusher,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told broadcaster Larry McCarren on Thursday. “He has some versatility to go inside and rush the passer from inside, so you can never have enough of those guys, and he fits our culture here.”

Van Ness will likely fill a hole left by Packers veteran lineman Rashan Gary, who tore his ACL in November 2022. 

“Getting the opportunity to bump back outside this year … that’s where I feel comfortable,” Van Ness said, according to packers.com. “That’s where I feel like I can use my tools and excel, and they bumped me outside and I feel like I was able to take what I learned playing defensive tackle and move it outside to play a physical brand of football, use my length on the edge, use my power and just really impact the game to help this team win.”

Jack Campbell

The linebacker was the 18th overall pick to the Detroit Lions on the first night of the draft, marking Iowa’s first draft with two first-round picks since 2019.

Campbell was a unanimous consensus All-American in 2022, recording 128 tackles in 13 games. He also won the Butkus Award, given to the top linebacker in the country.

“The more you look at him, the more athletic his traits came out and became very, very visible,” Brad Holmes, Detroit Lions executive vice president and general manager, said. “… for a 6-4 and a half, 250-pound linebacker, that was pretty impressive. But then we’re not even getting into two-time captain … extremely instinctive, extremely smart, extremely physical, very versatile.”

RELATED: Iowa football’s Jack Campbell picked by Detroit Lions in first round of NFL Draft 

Campbell will join a struggling Lions defense in 2023, as Detroit allowed an average of 146.5 rushing yards per game in 2022 — 29th in the NFL.

But he will be playing in an experienced linebacker room, joining seven-year veteran Alex Anzalone, who had the first 100-tackle season of his career in 2022. Two-year veteran Malcom Rodriguez also made an impact on the Lions with 87 tackles.

“Detroit, the people in this city, work for everything they get,” Campbell said. “Never complain, never point fingers, and that’s just I feel like who I am. I feel like I couldn’t be in a better city that represents that, and I’m just excited to get going with this.”

Per Spotrac, Campbell will sign a $14.7 million contract with a $7.7 million signing bonus.

Sam LaPorta

LaPorta was three picks away from being a first-rounder on Friday, going 34th overall to the Detroit Lions. The Lions used consecutive picks on Campbell and LaPorta in the 2023 draft.

RELATED: From Iowa football to the Detroit Lions: Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta stay teammates in NFL

By picking LaPorta, the Lions will continue their tradition of having a Hawkeye tight end on the roster. Detroit drafted T.J. Hockenson with the eighth overall pick in the draft in 2019. 

Hockenson played for the Lions until the middle of the 2022 season, when Detroit traded him to the Vikings.

“LaPorta is a really, really athletic guy,” Holmes said. “He can play a lot of different positions, he can align at a lot of different spots, he can do it in line. I really like his urgency and willingness in the run game. For the most part, he’s active with his hands, and he’s not the biggest guy, but he plays a lot bigger in line.”

RELATED: Former Iowa football tight end Sam LaPorta picked by Detroit Lions in second round of 2023 NFL Draft

LaPorta will join two-year veterans James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra and three-year vet Brock Wright in the tight end room. Wright started 10 games for the Lions last season, recording 18 receptions for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

“I’m fired up, it’s really a dream come true for me to live out my dream and hopes of playing in the highest level in the NFL,” LaPorta said. “… It’s surreal to me.”

LaPorta will sign a $9.5 million rookie contract with a $3.8 million signing bonus, per Spotrac.

Riley Moss

The speedy cornerback went off the board in the third round, going 83rd overall to the Denver Broncos. 

Despite reservations about Moss’ athleticism and ability to be a cornerback in the NFL, the Broncos said they will be using him as a true corner.

“Obviously with [Moss], there was a clear vision for him and it’s corner,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton told reporters on Saturday.

RELATED: Former Iowa football player Riley Moss selected in by Denver Broncos in third round of 2023 NFL Draft

Moss, the 2021 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, recorded 158 tackles in his five years as a Hawkeye. He also forced two fumbles, defended 37 passes, and registered 11 interceptions. He also had three pick sixes throughout his career. 

Moss will be the ninth cornerback on the Broncos’ roster. ESPN projects him to be a backup to Damarri Harris and Pat Surtain II, who have two and three years of experience in the NFL, respectively.

“They’ve got a great defense in Denver, and that’s what excited me about being able to visit them for my 30 visit,” Moss said, according to the Denver Post. “I love being part of a defense where everyone does their job, everyone knows what they’re doing and they fly around and make plays. That’s what Denver does and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Moss is projected to sign a $5.5 million contract with a nearly $1 million signing bonus, per Spotrac.

Ex-Hawkeye Charlie Jones

Jones, who transferred to Purdue for his final season of college football in 2022, went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 131st pick in the draft.

Jones had 323 yards and three touchdowns at Iowa in the 2021 season. As the Boilermakers’ top wide receiver in 2022, he registered 1,361 yards with 12 touchdowns, garnering second-team All-American honors.

Spotrac projects Jones to sign a $4.5 million contract with a nearly $700,000 signing bonus.

Undrafted Hawkeyes

Safety Kaevon Merriweather, who opted out of the Music City Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft, went undrafted this weekend. 

Linebacker Seth Benson and defensive end John Waggoner were also not picked by a team through seven rounds. 

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