There's not a lot that needs to be said here. Nate Stanley should be the guy despite an insistence from the coaching staff that there will be an open competition. That's to keep everyone engaged as they should do. But Stanley is the guy. Assuming there's no attrition, he'll be backed up by Tyler Wiegers as the second stringer and Drew Cook as third string. Mansell should redshirt.
In terms of the starter there's no question that Akrum Wadley will be the alpha dog in the backfield. I believe the second man up will be Toks Akinribade as the pre-spring two-deep indicated. Derrick Mitchell is just their third down back and has been branded as so. The scraps after that will be picked up by Toren Young or perhaps an incoming freshman.
The end of Jay Scheel's career is unfortunate and we do wish him the best. Lingering injuries had plagued him throughout his career to where he can never make the impact he desired. Two of the starters will undoubtedly be Matt VandeBerg and Jerminic Smith. That still leaves Jacob Hillyer's spot in the lineup from two years ago vacated. Nobody stepped up and grabbed it by the horns this year. Adrian Falconer and Devonte Young will likely battle for it through the Spring. They could get some competition in the Fall when freshmen arrive.
I do not see a scenario where Peter Pekar doesn't play next year. He's proven himself as a worthy blocker. He does need to become a weapon in the passing game but I don't think he gets removed completely from the scenario. The starter should be Noah Fant and another year to improve blocking should make a huge difference in what he can contribute. He's a breakout candidate. I think T.J. Hockenson is in the same boat and will play as well. Those are the three I can see getting the most snaps. Shaun Beyer is back with the tight ends but we haven't seen enough of him there to know where he will fall.
The pre-spring depth chart from left to right lists Boone Myers, Keegan Render, James Daniels, Sean Welsh and Ike Boettger. I think that could be what gets trotted out in the season opener in the Fall. I think another possibility is a lineup of Myers, Boettger, Daniels, Welsh, and Levi Paulsen from left to right. The fifth spot is kind of up for grabs between Render and Paulsen and then they can align it appropriately after that. With Lucas LeGrand and Ross Reynolds, they have more depth on the interior as well. Alaric Jackson is probably a year away from being the starting left tackle as Myers and Boettger head into their final seasons and Brett Waechter had to end his career prematurely.
This is a bit trickier of a prognostication. Iowa has a ton of depth at defensive end and not so much at defensive tackle. I think the starting ends at least for game one will be Parker Hesse and Anthony Nelson. A few of the backups that will also see snaps are Matt Nelson and Chauncey Golston. Brandon Simon is another possibility. I think they work in true freshman A.J. Epenesa as much as they can and he can swing back and forth from the edge and inside. That is just so he can be on the field as much as possible and contribute whatever way is needed.
The starting tackles should be Nathan Bazata and Cedrick Lattimore. One of the backups will be Brady Reiff. Anything else is still speculation at this point because they're thin beyond those three. Michael Slater can fit in there if he can get to 100 percent. Perhaps some of the ends can slide inside to provide depth. This is also why I think when Epenesa isn't seeing snaps at defensive end, it could be beneficial to have him inside instead of on the sideline.
The three starters return in Bo Bower, Josey Jewell and Ben Niemann. That's a ton of career starts between the three so this should be the strength of the team. Jack Hockaday can play too and the staff and his teammates seem to really like what he can do. I imagine Hockaday gets snaps this year in some form. Maybe he and Bower platoon a bit? Amani Jones won't be a big part of the unit that sees the field a lot but I think he can provide depth in a pinch if needed. After that, it's a bit of an unknown. I'm not sure they totally know what they have yet in Kyle Taylor, Kristian Welch, Nick Niemann and Barrington Wade. Angelo Garbutt has been around a while now but it's a challenge for him to see the field because of Jewell and Hockaday.
The starting cornerbacks are listed as Manny Rugamba and Michael Ojemudia. It's abit of a surprise that Ojemudia gets the nod instead of Jackson. Although I have mentioned before that it would not surprise me to see them comfortable with Jackson as the third corner and to only play in the sub-packages because that fits his skill set a bit more. It could be a big opportunity for Ojemudia who had a strong Spring a year ago. Beyond those three it is wide open. The only other returning scholarship player is Cedric Boswell who redshirted. Matt Hankins has a big opportunity for playing time right away if he does indeed sign with the Hawkeyes.
At safety one spot will definitely be manned by Brandon Snyder who may have been one of the more improved players in the last quarter of the season. Miles Taylor lost his job to Anthony Gair but is listed as the starter once again with Gair graduating and moving on. Can Taylor hold it? He'll be challenged heavily in my opinion by Amani Hooker. Those are the only three returning scholarship safeties. They will be bringing in Noah Clayberg, Djimon Colbert and Camron Harrell. I believe Colbert has a great chance to not redshirt his first year on campus because of the lack of depth.
The kicker will be Keith Duncan. The punter is an unknown and they'll bring in other competition for Colten Rastetter. They're going to see a few highly ranked punters this week like Under Armour All-American Joe Doyle and three-star Ryan Stonehouse of California. That will be an open competition throughout fall camp in my estimation.
The returners is an open job with Desmond King departing. Devonte Young is a prime candidate to take over, as is Manny Rugamba. Josh Jackson and Matt VandeBerg.