Iowa’s Weekend NFL Draft Signings
As the NFL Draft moved into the weekend, one more Hawkeye heard his name called and five others joined NFL organizations as free agents. Dane Belton became the second Hawkeye to come off the board with his selection to the New York Giants. Iowa continued their streak of at least one player selected in every year of the modern draft era, beginning in 1994. Following the draft, Iowa’s weekend NFL Draft signings continued. Tyler Goodson, Matt Hankins, Jack Koerner, Caleb Shudak and Zach VanValkenburg all inked professional contracts.
New York Giants Select Dane Belton
Iowa’s NFL Draft success continued early in the fourth round when Belton was selected by the New York Giants. The defensive back was previously graded as a late-third round selection, but he came off the board early on Saturday morning at 114th overall. The Giants were in need of some players at linebacker and safety, and Belton can fill that void. He played the “cash” position at Iowa and is comfortable flexing between positions on defense. Belton joins former Citrus Bowl competitor Wan’Dale Robinson with the Giants and will have a chance to make an immediate impact on the field.
Undrafted Free Agents
The former Hawkeye running back signed with the Green Bay Packers following the draft. Goodson was one of the best running backs that Iowa has had in recent history, and he’ll continue to play football on Sundays. He is a great fit in Green Bay and gets to learn behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Goodson has shifty feet and great speed on the outside, making him a valuable addition to the Packers’ backfield.
The Atlanta Falcons inked Hankins in what is one of the steals of the undrafted signings. Hankins is a guy with great ball skills in the secondary, and excellent instincts. Prior to the draft, Atlanta was in need of some new talent at cornerback. The organization found it in Hankins. He was a second-team All-American and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2021. His intangibles and upside potential will give the Falcons a new playmaker on defense.
At the College Gridiron Showcase and at Iowa Pro Day, Koerner had lengthy conversations with the New Orleans Saints organization. The Saints made their connection official following this year’s draft. Koerner signed with New Orleans and has an opportunity to make a real impact on this organization. The three-year starter at Iowa mastered his skills on special teams and in the secondary under Kirk Ferentz. New Orleans is getting a smart football player who will have a great chance to become an everyday defensive back.
The Tennessee Titans signed one of the 2021 Lou Groza Award semifinalists in Shudak. At Iowa, Shudak was as consistent as a kicker can be. He did not miss an extra point all season. To add to that, he was 24 of 28 for field goals on the year. More impressively, Shudak was very capable of long-range kicks. From 50-plus, the former Hawkeye was four of six. The Titans found themselves an accurate placekicker who can hit from deep.
The former Division II defensive end, turned Big Ten starter, has now inked with the Las Vegas Raiders. In the ultimate story of work ethic and determination, VanValkenburg is officially an NFL football player. The defensive end brings great edge quickness and physicality to Las Vegas. His athleticism could even open doors for him at outside linebacker at the next level. The Raiders landed a guy who will win the effort battle and will very likely be an everyday athlete on Sundays.
Iowa’s Weekend NFL Draft Signings
Offensive lineman Kyler Schott is reportedly being given a mini-camp tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The lineman battled a foot injury early in the year. However, he finished with an 89.6 overall run blocking rating according to Pro Football Focus. Schott had just one penalty all season and didn’t give up a single sack. His tryout makes a total of eight former Hawkeyes that will get a chance at making an NFL roster in the 2022 class.