Pro Day Tour: Thompson at Iowa

Packers general manager Ted Thompson sent himself to watch the Hawkeyes' bevy of draft talent. Among those players are two linebackers, a cornerback and a big-time wide receiver.

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson got out of the office and made the trek to Iowa City for Iowa's pro day on Monday.

As usual, the Hawkeyes have a bunch of solid prospects, with coach Kirk Ferentz and strength-and-conditioning guru Chris Doyle renowned for turning good high school players into top-shelf college players and professional prospects.

"Nobody does a better job than Ferentz and Doyle," a source at the workout said.

The Hawkeyes' top prospect is left tackle Riley Reiff, who's a sure-fire top-10 pick. While he's well out of the Packers' range, cornerback Shaun Prater, receiver Marvin McNutt and linebackers Tyler Nielsen and Broderick Binns would be of interest.

Nielsen (6-3, 238) could play inside or outside a 3-4 scheme but probably projects best inside. Nielsen, who had one sack in 20 career starts, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds with a 37-inch vertical and was excellent in position drills. He missed the final five games of his junior season with a fractured vertebrae in his neck but rebounded to be an honorable mention on the all-Big Ten team as a senior. He was Academic all-Big Ten all four seasons and all-district on the Academic All-American team.

"The thing that differentiates him is, along with his measurables, he's probably got the highest football IQ of the position," a source said.

McNutt, who played quarterback until midway through his redshirt freshman season, holds school records for receiving yards in a season (1,315) and career (2,861), as well as single-season (12) and career touchdown receptions (28). He rested on his Combine numbers, and a source said Thompson stayed to watch McNutt's position workout.

Prater (5-10 1/8) ran his 40 in 4.48 seconds but did not do position drills due to a sore knee that kept him from testing at the Combine. He is an interesting slot cornerback. He showed his hitting ability with four forced fumbles as a senior after picking off four passes as a junior.

Another draft-worthy prospect is offensive tackle Markus Zusevics. He tore a pectoral working out at the Scouting Combine but will be ready for training camp.

Nobody helped himself more than Broderick Binns (6-1, 260), who as a senior had five sacks and 12 tackles for losses and used his long arms and jumping ability to break up eight passes. Binns was not invited to the Scouting Combine but lit it up with a 4.65 in the 40 and 36-inch vertical jump. His 10-yard time of 1.6 seconds would have ranked among the leaders at the Scouting Combine. He played end for Iowa but projects to outside linebacker in a 3-4.

We'll tell you about more schools later tonight.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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