Pro Day Tour: The Iowa Pipeline

Two Hawkeyes players stand about the rest: defensive lineman Carl Davis and "freakish" fullback Mark Weisman. Plus, we have confirmed Packers attendance at at least four other pro days on Monday, including to see quarterback Garrett Grayson. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY)

There’s plenty of demolition going on around Lambeau Field these days. In the past several years, however, they have built a talent pipeline that runs from Green Bay to Iowa City.

General manager Ted Thompson has hit big with Bryan Bulaga (first round, 2010), Mike Daniels (fourth round, 2012) and Micah Hyde (fifth round, 2013). It’s no wonder. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz has built a blue-collar roster ripe with NFL-ready players.

“One of the NFL guys told me that the guys they get from Iowa are like second-year pros. They arrive with the toughness and the technique that it takes to play in the league,’’ defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat told reporters after Monday’s pro day. “That’s what Iowa is about, but it’s good to hear that from the people who are looking at you.’’

The Hawkeyes have a couple of intriguing options for the Packers in next month’s draft, led by defensive lineman Carl Davis. Davis (6-5, 320) was a two-year starter and two-time all-Big Ten selection. He’s projected as a second-round option by the league’s scouting department in the latest rankings provided to Packer Report. He showed his athleticism at the Scouting Combine (5.07 in the 40; 33-inch vertical) and reportedly put up 28 reps on the bench at pro day.

“I’ve come a long way, and that’s a credit to the development that takes place here,’’ Davis said. “There’s a reason so many guys train and prepare for the draft here. Today was a good day for me. This has been a good experience so far, from the Senior Bowl until now and it’s all about taking that next step. This is part of it.’’

The other is fullback Mark Weisman (6-0, 240), who somehow has flown under the media pundits’ radar. He had an enormous day. According to a source, he ran his 40 in 4.61 seconds. His three-cone time of 6.88 was 0.16 seconds faster than Melvin Gordon’s at the Scouting Combine. He’ll probably be the No. 1 fullback off the board because of his John Kuhn-like versatility.

“Freakish,” is what one source called Weisman’s workout.

The Academic All-American’s career totals include 599 rushes for 2,602 yards and 32 touchdowns to rank third in career rushing touchdowns, fourth in career attempts and sixth in rushing yards. His 16 rushing touchdowns in 2014 rank as third-most in school history.

While Brandon Scherff is considered the top offensive lineman in the draft and a likely top-10 pick, his sidekick, right tackle Andrew Donnal, isn’t exactly chopped liver.

Donnal (6-6, 313), a sixth-round prospect, looked bigger and more agile than he did at the Combine, according to a source. That showed in the weight room, where he went from 17 reps at the Combine to 23. He started all 13 games at right tackle as a senior and was an honorable mention on the all-Big Ten team.

As possible free agents, safety John Lowdermilk (6-1, 210), who had a team-high 103 tackles and three interceptions as a senior, ran in 4.56. The two-year starter is the son of longtime Vikings center Kirk Lowdermilk. Tight end Raymond Hamilton (6-4, 262) looked good in drills. He caught 19 passes for 175 yards and three scores as a senior. Inside linebacker Quinton Alston ran in 4.70 on his first 40 but pulled up on his second with a hamstring injury. The second-team all-Big Ten selection finished second on the team with 94 tackles and added 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Texas State

Cornerback Craig Mager (6-0, 201), who ran in 4.44 at the Combine with a 38-inch vertical, had a strong positional workout, according to a source. He’s a solid seventh-round prospect after starting his final 48 games and turning in a senior season of three interceptions and 12.3 yards per punt return.

Unheralded linebacker David Mayo would be a nice end-of-the-draft addition for the Packers, who are rebuilding their inside linebacker corps.

Mayo (6-1, 242) tied the Sun Belt Conference record and ranked second nationally with 154 tackles as a senior. He missed five games as a sophomore with a meniscus tear and two games with a MCL tear as a junior.

No results were immediately available but he ran in 4.83 for scouts this summer.

Texas-San Antonio

When you’re a linebacker whose brother is Mike Singletary, you’re worthy of two Packers scouts visiting the small-school workout.

UTSA’s Robert Singletary’s brother isn’t that Mike Singletary, though this one plays professional basketball in Italy. Robert Singletary started his career at Baylor in 2011. He transferred to UTSA in 2012 and became eligible in 2013. As a senior, he tallied 3.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for losses among his 69 tackles and added a team-high four forced fumbles. Singletary (6-2, 250) would be a free-agent pickup at outside linebacker.

Guard Scott Inskeep, a four-year starter, had labrum surgery on Dec. 23 and will be ready for full-go workouts next week.

NC State

Outside of punter Will Bauman, offensive tackle Robert Crisp is the Wolfpack’s only draft-worthy prospect. Crisp looked like a budding star back in 2011, when the sophomore didn’t allow a sack at right tackle. He was hit hard by injuries, though, with a back injury costing him five games in 2012 and a concussion sidelining him for most of 2013. The NCAA gave him a medical redshirt, allowing him to play in 2014. It paid off. Crisp started every game at left tackle and was named the team’s top offensive lineman. The long-armed Crisp (6-7, 301; 34.5-inch arms) stuck with his Combine workout, which included a 5.26 in the 40 and 26 reps on the bench, and had a solid positional workout.

Colorado State

Quarterback Garrett Grayson had a personal pro day after a hamstring injury prevented him from working out at the Scouting Combine or CSU’s pro day on March 11.

Update: The Packers had a scout in attendance.

Grayson (6-2, 214) ran an impressive 4.72 in the 40-yard dash along with a 34-inch vertical jump.

“I haven’t ran or sprinted since my injury,” he said. “There were some people out there who said I’d be lucky to run a 40 in five seconds flat. So, I’m happy with what I ran.” Of course, Grayson recognizes the real reason so many teams have interest in him, “Quarterbacks don’t get paid to run 40s. They get paid to throw the ball.”

Grayson was equally impressive in his position work. Throwing to former teammate Charles Lovett, Grayson completed 70-of-74 passes. Three incompletions were drops. Grayson looked sharp, whether he was throwing rollouts, post patterns or deep balls. “I really wanted to show scouts that I could throw from under center. I wanted to show them I could make all the throws. I think I did that today.”

However, it wasn’t all roses. Grayson dealt with noticeable ball placement issues when throwing to the right side. While not uncommon with right-handed quarterbacks, those kinds of issues could turn a second- or third-round talent into a sixth- or seventh-round pick. For his part, Grayson isn’t too worried about how the draft actually plays out, “Obviously, (Jameis) Winston and (Marcus) Mariota are No. 1 and 2. But, as a quarterback, you’re always out there fighting to be No. 1 at your position, no matter who’s out there.”

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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