While Iowa may have made a statement on the field last year, they went largely unnoticed in the NFL draft. Moving forward, however, there are several star athletes who could very well (and likely will) be drafted to the professional level. Let’s take a deeper look:
Last year’s Thorpe Award winner, Desmond King will try to make history this coming season by taking home the prestigious distinction yet again. Approaching this draft, it was thought King would be a first round pick, but in an effort to make his mark on college football history, as well to make a deeper impression on NFL front offices, the now senior will return to Iowa to round out the remainder of his collegiate career. Notably so, the hype is already building considering CBS Sports has rated king as the number one DB prospect for this coming fall.
Not to be forgotten, C.J. Beathard just completed a successful junior season boasting of 2nd team All-Big Ten honors. Beathard may very well begin the upcoming preseason as the 1st team All-Big Ten, but only fittingly so considering he is widely regarded as the 2nd best quarterback prospect according to CBS Sports. Just as well, in light of the fact that Connor Cook was just drafted in the fourth round, and Beathard has not only better legs than Cook but a better arm too, it is hard to imagine he would not be selected for the next level. As far as rounds go, however, it remains to be seen where Beathard will land. Largely dependent on the 2017 draft’s QB class as a whole, Beathard could go in the first round or as late as the third round.
No list would be complete without a mention of George Kittle. Hungry, ambitious and explosive, Kittle could easily be making an NFL debut at the end of next year. Although he was formerly a skinny wheel-route option at tight end, he has since developed into an immense and intimidating physical presence. While he may be overshadowed in the media by Beathard and King, that is not to discredit his abilities in the slightest. In fact, I may even go so far as to say he could give Jake Butt on Michigan a run for his money when it comes to first team All-Big Ten this coming December.
Needless to say, I am ecstatic to see what this fall brings. Tailgating at the Magic Bus, screaming I-O-W-A at the top of my lungs, and victoriously singing along to “In Heaven there is no beer,” has never seemed so sweet.