The free safety position at Iowa has produced some quality players this decade. After walking onto the Hawkeyes, Derek Pagel and Sean Considine both were selected in the fourth round of the draft. Injuries cut short Pagel's career, but Considine became a starter with the Philadelphia Eagles last fall.
Marcus Paschal took over at free safety for Considine at Iowa and started the last two years. He has worked out the last few months in preparations for the April 28-29 draft.
"I hope I'm the next in line," Paschal said. "I've heard some people comment that we've had a pretty good run of free safeties at Iowa. I hope I get a chance."
Paschal missed action in each of the last two seasons due to injury. In 2005, he was recovering from an ACL tear suffered in the Capital One Bowl. Last fall, he struggled with a banged up ankle nad sore hamstring.
"Yeah, most of the teams I've talked to are most concerned about the injuries," Paschal said. "I've gone through a bunch of tests, but the ankle and hamstring are testing out fine and there are no problems with the knee."
Despite missing two full games and the majority of two others, Paschal earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior. He recorded 67 tackles, including two for loss, to go with an interception and three pass breakups.
The postseason all-star games passed on Paschal, but he did participate in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and worked out at Iowa's Pro Day. He said that his performance at the combine (he ran a 4.59 40) ranked ahead of what he did at his pro day.
"I'm not sure those things are going to mean a lot for me when it comes down to it," Paschal said. "I'm not a guy that's going to test out great. I need a team to like what I look like on tape and thinks I can help on special teams before maybe moving in to the secondary on a regular basis."
Few colleges jumped at the chance to recruit Paschal out of Largo, Fla. He chose Iowa ahead of Hofstra.
"I'm OK with being somebody on the outside looking in," the 6-foot, 210-pound safety said. "Nobody really wanted me out of high school, so I'm comfortable where I am heading into the draft. If somebody drafts me, cool. If I go free agent, I'm ready to prove myself again."
According to most of the pre-draft chatter, Paschal reads like a guy slotted to be a late, second-day pick or a free agent. Quite a few teams (Tampa Bay, Atlanta, to name a few) have spoken to his agent and there seems to be interest out there.
The Philadelphia Eagles brought Paschal in for an individual workout.
"That was cool," Paschal said. "Sean didn't know I was coming in, but they called him when I got out there and we got to talk. That would be a great place to go. It seems a lot like Iowa where they give everybody a chance."
Paschal plans on heading back to Florida to spend the draft with his family and friends.
"I'm just going to relax and take it all in," he said. "You work all this time to reach your biggest goal, and now it's finally here. I'm really looking forward to it."