Undrafted free agent tracker | Where former Iowa football players ended up

Multiple former Hawkeye football players who did not hear their name called during the seven-round 2023 NFL Draft were picked up as undrafted free agents after the draft.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa linebacker Seth Benson walks off the field during a football game between Iowa and Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium on November 25, 2022. Benson had eight total tackles. The Cornhuskers defeated the Hawkeyes, 24-17.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Several former Hawkeye football players who entered the 2023 NFL Draft did not hear their names called over the seven rounds of selections. 

But they were picked up by organizations as undrafted free agents after the draft.

Seth Benson, linebacker, Denver Broncos 

Benson will reunite with former Hawkeye cornerback Riley Moss, who was drafted 83rd to the Broncos on Friday.

Benson, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, played in 50 games over five seasons on the field in a Hawkeye uniform. He started 34 of those contests, including all but one game in the last three years. 

The 6-foot, 232-pounder recorded 247 of his 258 career tackles in his final three years in Iowa City, all 13 tackles for loss, and all five sacks. He snatched one interception in 2021 and one in 2022.

Benson was not invited to the NFL Combine but did work out in front of NFL scouts and other personnel at Iowa’s pro day in March. 

“I’m just ready to get on a team and learn the playbook,” Benson said after Iowa’s pro day. “I think I can learn whatever, pretty quick and, and I’m versatile enough to play wherever they need me to. So I’m just excited for the opportunity.”

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein evaluated Benson as a strong, tough player, but said his lack of burst may hamper his play in the pros.

“Benson has plenty of play strength and toughness,” Zierlein wrote. “He has no problem handling things when the action stays between the tackles. However, his lack of fluidity and pursuit burst are likely to limit his overall effectiveness as a pro. Benson can play on special teams but doesn’t have the tools needed to thrive on third downs. While there is no doubting his ability to take on blocks, teams might see his limited playmaking range as a non-starter.”

Former teammate and fellow linebacker Jack Campbell, who was selected in the first round by the Detroit Lions with the No. 18 overall pick said throughout the pre-draft process, however, he was asked by multiple organizations about Benson, and he spoke glowingly about his Hawkeye teammate. 

“A lot of teams asked me about Seth and I give the same answer to every single one of them: He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with,” Campbell said after Iowa’s pro day. “One of the most underrated Hawkeyes ever put on the uniform … I just think Seth was above and beyond anything that I was.”

Benson was a 2-star recruit out of high school according to 24/7 and had just two college football offers: South Dakota State, an FCS team, and Iowa.

Monte Pottebaum, fullback, Pittsburgh Steelers

In four seasons with Iowa, Pottebaum played in 45 games, reeled in 10 catches for 85 yards, and tallied 20 rushing attempts for 82 yards and a touchdown. 

But his most valuable asset to the Hawkeyes was as a fierce lead blocker, and that’s what Tony Pauline of profootballnetwork.com saw in his evaluation of the 6-foot-1 244-pound Larchwood, Iowa, native. 

Pottebaum is a hard-nosed lead blocker who can also be counted on as a pass catcher out of the backfield,” Pauline wrote. “He has speed limitations, but Pottebaum can be put on the field in short-yardage or goal-line situations and used in a variety of roles.”

After Iowa football’s pro day in March, Pottebaum said he worked on pass-catching skills and route running to further diversify his game leading up to the draft. 

“I went to Nashville with [former Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta] for about six weeks,” Pottebaum said. “We worked with George Kittle’s strength coach — I never actually met George because he was on vacation the whole time — but yeah, that was good. We were just working on, like, tight end stuff, like running routes, getting out of breaks, and stuff like that, which really helped me.”

Pottebaum said while he loves playing fullback, he thinks he may play a more versatile role for an NFL team. 

“There’s still some fullbacks out there but also a lot of teams have that H-back-tight end guy that they use a lot,” Pottebaum said. “So, I think that’s more my role.”

Kaevon Merriweather, defensive back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Merriweather will join former Hawkeye offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, the No. 13 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, in Tampa Bay.

Merriweather tallied 118 total tackles in five seasons on the field at Iowa, the majority coming in his final three years. Three of Merriweather’s four career interceptions came in his final year in Iowa City. 

Although Merriweather is listed as a safety, he said playing in the Hawkeyes’ defensive scheme allowed him to develop versatility that he thinks will benefit him at the next level.  

“Being [at Iowa], I think I’ve had a great opportunity to do a range of things,” Merriweather said. “Here in our defense, I’ve had to go in the deep middle, I’ve had to come down in the box, you know, so, if a team asks me, of course, I say yes. I can do anything you need to do.”

At the combine in March, the 6-foot 205-pounder ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash. 

“Merriweather has the size and toughness of an NFL safety but needs to improve his consistency to finish tackles near the box,” Zierlein wrote. “He could struggle to keep up with wide receivers who get matched with him in space. He might have the tools necessary to cover tight ends, but he could be at his best playing short zone as a dime safety. Overall, Merriweather has physical traits that give him a chance to find a home as a backup safety.”

Merriweather was a 3-star recruit and Iowa was his only college offer, according to 24/7.