Iowa NFL Draft Profile: Dane Belton

Another highly-touted Iowa defensive back enters the draft with the potential to add to the legacy of Hawkeye defenders at the next level. The NFL Draft profile for Dane Belton reveals a unique skill set that can translate to the next level. Belton has chosen to forgo his senior year in Iowa City to enter the NFL Draft. He was a three-year starter in his three seasons at Iowa and played a unique position on defense. Belton’s versatility allowed him to make an immediate impact on the defense that lasted through his college career.

Iowa NFL Draft Profile: Dane Belton

As a recruit, Belton was a three-star from Tampa, Florida who had the interest of several big-name schools. He was recruited by Ohio State and Miami and received offers from several Power Five schools. After enrolling at Iowa, Belton saw action in eight games while making four starts in his true freshman season. He lined up primarily as an outside linebacker, but he transitioned to the “cash” position in the Hawkeye defense. Former Hawkeyes Amani Hooker and Geno Stone played in this role while at Iowa. It is one of the more difficult positions to play, as the defender can emulate a linebacker, nickelback, or a strong safety depending on the offensive scheme. Belton was impressive in this role and showed a tremendous ability to trust his reads and make plays as he progressed in the program. The Tampa native hauled in five interceptions last season. He also had an 82.4 coverage grade according to Pro Football Focus. 

Combine

At the NFL Combine, Belton ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and a 123-inch broad jump. His speed impressed and added to his already-impressive play-making capabilities. Belton has shown immense improvement in his three seasons at Iowa. This should give NFL coaches reason to trust in his ability to become even better. At 6’-1” and 205 pounds, Belton is comparable to the aforementioned Hooker of the Tennessee Titans. His similar size and ability to play that distinctive position on defense relate closely to Belton. Not a lot of NFL teams line up with the “cash” position on defense. However, Belton’s physicality will help him mold into a lot of defensive formations at the next level. It is likely that Belton is a weekend selection, but his speed and upside potential could bump his name up to a late third-round pick.