Four Hawkeyes were selected in this year’s NFL Draft, and three of them came off the board in the top 34 selections. It was the first time since the 2018 Draft that two Hawkeyes went in the first round. Iowa was also one of just four schools with three selections in the top 34. The others were Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia. The Hawkeyes were in good company in this year’s NFL Draft with some all-time great Hawkeyes headed to the next level.
Iowa NFL Draft Recap: First Round
At 13th overall, the Green Bay Packers selected Lukas Van Ness. The former Hawkeye edge rusher will wear number 90 for the Packers. Van Ness never started a game in a Hawkeye uniform but tallied impressive numbers in his career. His elite size and athleticism at the edge made him a top prospect at the next level, and Green Bay saw that. He was the third edge rusher selected on the first day of the draft, behind only Will Anderson Jr. of Alabama and Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech.
Just five picks later, the Detroit Lions selected Jack Campbell, a former linebacker at Iowa. Campbell was one of the best linebackers in the history of Iowa football. He was the Butkus Award recipient last season for the nation’s top linebacker. Campbell was also awarded the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation’s top scholar-athlete. It’s widely renowned as the “Academic Heisman”. The Lions were thoroughly impressed with him during pre-Draft interviews, and they selected him with their second first-round pick.
Iowa NFL Draft Recap: Day Two
Before you could get settled into day two, the Detroit Lions called another Hawkeye off the board. This time, Sam LaPorta heard his name called with the 34th overall pick. LaPorta was the second tight end taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, behind only Dalton Kincaid of Utah. The former Hawkeye was the shining point of a bad Iowa offense last season, leading the team in receptions and receiving yards. He tallied five touchdowns and nearly 1,800 yards during his career in Iowa City. The Lions drafted TJ Hockenson back in 2018 and went back to the same school to find their next pass catcher.
Midway through the third round, the Denver Broncos selected cornerback Riley Moss. It was the second Iowa defensive back selection by Denver in the past three seasons, having taken Michael Ojemudia back in 2020. Moss has well-above-average speed and exceptional ball skills. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and tallied 11 interceptions during his career at Iowa. Scouts evaluated him as a safety at the next level, but the Broncos want him at cornerback, where he played at Iowa. Moss aims to become the first white starting cornerback in the NFL since Jason Sehorn in 2002.
Former Hawkeye Draft Picks
Charlie Jones was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round at 131st overall. The former wide receiver and kick returner spent two seasons in Iowa City after transferring from Buffalo. He was one of the most dynamic kick returners in recent history for the Hawkeyes. Jones averaged 25 yards per kick return and nine yards per punt return while at Iowa. He also returned a kick and a punt for a touchdown during his stint in Iowa City. Jones transferred to Purdue in 2022 and quickly became one of the nation’s leading receivers. He finished last season with 12 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards receiving. The new Bengal has an opportunity to make an impact on the kick return team, and possibly become another top target for Joe Burrow.
Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents was selected at 44th overall in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts. Brents spent the first three seasons of his career with the Hawkeyes. He had one interception and three pass breakups in an Iowa uniform. Brents transferred to Kansas State in 2021 and became one of their top defensive backs. He grabbed five interceptions and broke up five passes during his time in Manhattan.
Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK