This might be the quietest the pre-NFL Draft hoopla as been since the early years of Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz. There's no Chad Greenway or Matt Roth or Robert Gallery or Bob Sanders to get the juices flowing. There also doesn't appear to be a lot of high-end depth that would keep fans watching round after round in hopes of seeing a Hawkeye selected.
A lot of the fanfare might be lacking because Iowa struggled last season. Had the Hawkeyes rolled to another New Year's Day Bowl, you'd likely be hearing more about guys like Drew Tate, Mike Jones and Kyle Schlicher instead of most attention being focused on only Scott Chandler and Marshal Yanda.
Iowa still offers the NFL talent in this class. Chandler, Yanda, Jones and Marcus Paschal all have the Indy combine under their belts. Tate, Schlicher, Mike Elgin, Ed Miles and Miguel Merrick are relying on tape and Iowa's Pro Day.
As those of you who have been with us at our current Hawkeye Nation location since 2003, I am an NFL Draft nut. Through experience, I know that you can't tell for certainty who will go where or who will make it.
I love this process and rooting for every Hawkeye, especially the real long shots that have a chance to make a roster. There are few stories in the NFL more rewarding right now that Sean Considine's success with the Philadelphia Eagles or Aaron Kampman's rise to Pro Bowl status.
Some of our nine NFL Draft previews on this site elicited comments doubting, sometimes nastily, some of the Hawkeyes' long shots. That's fine. In speaking with these guys, they all are dreaming and have worked hard to get to this point.
It won't work out for all of them. But I have a feeling there are some Iowa surprises hiding in this draft.
This also is the point where I like to predict where each of the Iowa guys might end up. I'm usually wrong, but it's still fun. Here we go:
Scott Chandler, TE, Round 3, Overall Pick 83, Carolina Panthers: Carolina loves to weave the TE into its offense and the Panthers need to get younger at the position.
Marshal Yanda, G, Round 4, Overall Pick 104, Cleveland Browns: This rising talent reminds me a lot in play and personality of former Hawkeye Eric Steinbach. Now, Yanda can learn from the highest paid interior lineman in the NFL.
Marcus Paschal, S, Round 6, Overall Pick 201, Philadelphia Eagles: The Birds brought Paschal in to town for a individual workouts and things have gone pretty well with Considine.
Mike Jones, G, Round 7, Overall Pick 241, Chicago Bears: I get the feeling that Jones still hasn't played his best football and the NFC Super Bowl rep needs to add depth. What better way to do that than with a hometown kid?
Drew Tate, QB, Free Agent, Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings will be looking to bring in some signal callers to compete for jobs or possibly spots on the practice squad. The Vikes have had a chance to monitor Tate through his years at Iowa and could wind up with a steal here.
Ed Miles, LB, Free Agent, Arizona Cardinals: Miles came on at the end of last year and has tested well. He has an ally in Ron Aiken down in the desert.
Mike Elgin, G-C, Free Agent, Kansas City: The Chiefs have done pretty well with another undersized Iowan in Casey Wiegmann. KC needs to refurbish its front and Elgin would be a nice project.
Miguel Merrick, S, Free Agent, Green Bay: The Packers have done well with a trio of ex-Hawks on their defense, so why not add a fourth? Merrick could contribute on special teams in the near future.
Kyle Schlicher, K, Free Agent, Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are looking for a kicker to handle field goals with someone in toe to handle kickoffs. Schlicher could do some damage indoors.