Scouting the Big Ten: Iowa

The Hawks are coming off a splendid campaign in 2002, one in which they lost just a single game and shared the conference title with Ohio State. The program also had three players selected in the draft's first 50 selections. What can we expect from Iowa next April?

Overall they may have more players drafted in 2004, just not as many early picks. The first Hawkeye chosen should definitely be tackle Robert Gallery, a player we have had our eye on since August of last year. Gallery is a large and powerful blind side tackle that uses a great combination of strength and intellect to dominate in all aspects. He lacks the great footwork and lateral slide but perfects the technique of blocking angles or body positioning to protect his passer. Gallery can also dominate as a run blocker and should be a top 20 choice next year.

Maurice Brown is a tall, slender wide out with reliable hands and a solid intermediate range target. Lacking the deep speed, he could be a late round pick and fit in as a fourth receiver.

Running back Fred Russell combines both quickness and explosion in his game and beats defenders around the corners or in the open field. Slight of size, Russell is best suited as a third-down back at the next level and must really impress scouts with his pass catching abilities.

Junior Jernelle Lewis looks like a solid ball carrying prospect for the future. A powerfully built, compact runner, Lewis is rarely brought down by the first defender and picks up a lot of yardage of initial contact, also displaying a burst through the hole. His workload should increase this year and a good season will improve his draft stock.

On defense, the program offers several middle-to-late round choices. Jared Clauss is a tough and explosive inside plugger who gets the first step on opponents and plays with a relentless attitude. Like many of his Iowa predecessors, he is a tad undersized, though Clauss does show size potential and could slide into the first day.

Howard Hodges and Jon Babineaux are both undersized pass rushers who chase down opposing quarterbacks with great tenacity. Hodges is better off standing up over tackle in a three-four scheme at the next level while Babineaux, a former fullback and only a junior, does have the frame to get bigger. Likewise, they have a pair of solid yet smallish linebackers that will garner late round attention.

Grant Steen does not really jump out at you but rarely makes mistakes or is caught out of position. A heady linebacker he will offer depth at the next level and production on special teams.

Teammate Kevin Worthy does not know the word "stop" and makes plays sideline-to-sideline. Should he take his game to another level and run well before the draft, he could sneak into the middle rounds.

Safety Bob Sanders is a better prospect than Derek Pagel (drafted by the Jets in round five) in our minds. Sanders pass cover skills are more complete than his former teammate yet he plays with the same non-stop intensity.

Nate Kaeding is one of the better kicking prospects in the nation and has an accurate leg, which is good in the clutch.

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