By Mike Jones on March 6, 2018 at 8:00 am
Sean Welsh runs drills.

© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


The NFL Combine wrapped up yesterday with the defensive back drills, meaning Josh Jackson finally got his chance to show NFL scouts what he could do. In all, five Hawkeyes were invited to the Combine: James Daniels, Josh Jackson, Josey Jewell, Akrum Wadley and Sean Welsh. Here’s your recap on how each player performed:

James Daniels, Center

Daniels has been given a prospect grade of 6.00 by NFL.com, meaning he’s likely to become an instant starter. He’s projected to be drafted in the second round and BOY ARE THEY IMPRESSED WITH THAT ARM LENGTH:

No, but in all seriousness, Daniels showed out despite not running the 40-yard dash due to an injured hamstring. Among centers, his 30.5 inch vertical jump was 6th best, he had the second fastest 3-cone drill, the fastest 20-yard shuffle and the 10th best long jump. The consensus seems to be that not only is Daniels a heady player, but he’s an athletic one to boot.

Guess the whole going pro early thing will work out well for James. Honestly, seems like if Daniels was thought of as a 2nd round player heading into the Combine, his athletic showing could potentially bump him up to the 1st. Looks like the NFL guys doing mock drafts agree with that view, as a number of them having Daniels going as high as 23rd to the Los Angeles Rams.

Josey Jewell, Linebacker

Things could've gone better for the Outlaw. Jewell has been given a grade of 5.65, meaning he has a chance to become an NFL starter and is projected to be drafted in the 3-4th rounds. Naturally, his comparison is for Sean Lee (because he’s white, you see) and, well, he didn’t have the best performance at the Combine. He ran an abysmal 4.82 40-yard dash and was in the bottom of the pack of nearly every other workout. That’s the bad news. EDIT: Actually he did well in the 3-cone drill and the shuttle drills, as Scott Dochterman noted over at Land of 10

The good news is that it sounds like a number of people really don’t care:

The tape doesn't lie on Josey. That's what's important here. He was consistent at Iowa, had good games when Iowa was on national TV, and has all of the intangibles to be a successfully middle linebacker in the NFL.

Sean Welsh, Center

Welsh played a number of positions during his career at Iowa and he’s listed as a center at the Combine. He’s been given a grade of 5.37, meaning he’s an NFL backup or has special teams potential. He’s projected to be drafted in the 5-6th round and his NFL comparison is…wait… Austin Blythe? C’mon. That’s just lazy.

Welsh didn’t blow anyone away at the Combine but he didn’t fall flat on his face either. He was merely…there. I’ve seen some Tweets and posts criticizing him for his size but I guess I don’t think that 6’3, 306 pounds is terribly small for a center. Regardless, it’s criticism he’ll have to deal with despite the fact that he was arguably Iowa’s best lineman for two straight years and barely missed any playing time. He’ll find his niche in the NFL one way or another.

Akrum Wadley, Running Back

You can see the criticisms of Akrum Wadley a mile away. He’s obviously too small. Where is he going to play? He can’t block. Etc. Etc. Etc. And yeah, he is small. That hasn’t stopped Jacquizz Rodgers, Dion Lewis or Darren Sproles from playing, though. Is he an every down back? Absolutely not. Here’s someone appropriately identifying what he’ll be great at in the NFL:

Wadley didn’t participate in too many workouts, with his showcase being the 40-yard dash:

His official time turned out to be 4.52, which was solid but well above his goal of running a 4.4. Overall, it was the 11th fastest time. Wadley is projected to be drafted in the 3-4th rounds and has been given a grade of 5.45, meaning he’s a backup or has special teams potential. It's not unreasonable to think he can make a living as a third down or scatback, provided his blocking technique is solid.

Josh Jackson, Cornerback

We got really excited when we saw this:

Because running a 4.4ish 40-yard dash is something that NFL scouts are looking for in a cornerback. But it turns out that his 40-yard dash was unofficial and the actual time was 4.56. How big of a difference is that? Well:

I'm of the opinion that if you're not drafting Jackson over that time difference, well, you're a fool. Here's the full tape:

Despite the disappointing 40-yard dash time, Jackson was 3rd overall among cornerbacks in bench press and 5th among cornerbacks with a 38 inch vertical. Lots of guys on NFL.com continue to be high on him, with majority of them projecting the Bills to draft him with the 22nd overall pick.

In short, it looks like there's a substantial likelihood that Iowa could have two players drafted in the first round, another two drafted in the 3rd or 4th rounds and Welsh being drafted in the later rounds. If they managed two first round draft picks, it would be the first time the Hawkeyes accomplished such a feat since the 1997 NFL Draft with Tom Knight and Ross Verba. Iowa also hasn't had five draft picks since the 2012 Draft, when they had SIX players taken. 

The Kirk Ferentz NFL Developmental Program is strong once again.

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