Scouting the Big 10: Iowa

After consecutive New Year's Day Bowl appearances, including a BCS game, the Hawkeyes may be hard pressed to match recent success after the amount of talent they've recently put into the NFL. They had the second selection and last April's draft but 2004 does not look nearly as promising for Iowa either on the field or in the war room of NFL teams.

The best pro-talent lay on defense, specifically in the ranks of the underclassmen. Abdul Hodge is an athletic inside linebacker with outstanding first step quickness.  A competitive defender with good playing speed, he is solid stopping the run on the inside yet also gets depth on pass drops going in reverse.  Hodge also shows excellent lateral range and can make plays in any direction of the field.  A bit undersized, he lacks the top growth potential yet his speed lends one to believe he has possibilities on the weak side.  Only a junior he is a defensive prospect to keep an eye on.  Likewise Chad Greenway is another junior linebacker scouts have on the radar screen.  Though not as athletic as his teammate, Greenway has exceptional football instincts and almost a sixth sense when it comes to diagnosing the play.  Efficient, he takes outstanding angles to the action and rarely wastes motion.  Greenway does have solid size and a good amount of potential for the strong side linebacker position.  Jonathan Babineaux is like many of his Hawkeye predecessors at the defensive end spot; explosive, quick yet a bit small.  A competitive defender, Babineaux does a solid job immediately locating the ball then altering his angle of attack and gets to the action with the great burst of closing speed.  An excellent pass rusher, he can also pursue the ball carrier from the backside, making the tackle against the run.  His lack of size and growth potential will prevent him from being an every down lineman at the next level as Babineaux will have difficulties if teams run directly at him.  Cornerback's Jovan Johnson and Antwan Allen are a pair of secondary players to keep an eye on.

Offensively, Jermelle Lewis takes over the ball handling duties from departed Fred Russell.  Unlike Russell, who had a slashing but explosive style on the inside, Lewis is more of a straight-line runner who flashes both speed and power.  Lewis has good size but must prove he can handle the duties of being an every down back while also showing durability for an entire season in order to get middle round consideration in next April's draft.

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