Scouting the Big 10: Iowa

After its' initial post-Hayden Fry bowl appearance, Iowa could be in for big things this season if replacements at quarterback, receiver and running back answer the call. They have several solid pro-prospects; the best coming from the ranks of the underclassmen.

Iowa Hawkeyes

While the offensive line, receiver and running back positions all have several developmental players the scouts eye on this side of the ball is directed towards senior tight end Dallas Clark, a former walk-on that originally started as a defensive player. Clark, slowly developing into a complete tight end, is a hard-working and athletic pass catcher that consistently finds the open spot on the field and catches the ball with solid technique, occasionally making plays into the secondary. Clark is a reliable, smart and hard-working player that gives top effort when asked to block (though the results are minimal and it's the part of his game he must work on most). Still; he is one of those middle round tight ends that slip through the cracks yet go on to have ten year careers at the next level. Aaron Greving now takes over the running back duties from LaDell Betts and the underclassman has shown flashes in the past displaying some skill for the next level. Iowa has a pair of talented tackles with bright futures, one a senior and the other only a junior. Upperclassman David Porter is a solid athlete that displays footwork and pass blocking skills from the right side, while also possessing growth potential, which would only enhance his abilities to block for the run. Porter will get late round consideration but left tackle Robert Gallery, one year Porter's "junior", should be a lineman on everyone's radar screen. Like Porter, Gallery is a solid athlete that plays with balance and quickness, though he's much better blocking for the run. Gallery needs to improve his footwork, overall wherewithal and make better use of his blocking angles. If he accomplishes that and continues to grow into his 6-6/295 pound frame he could move into the drafts first day in 2004. Center Bruce Nelson, guard Eric Steinbach and receiver CJ Jones are all seniors that will garner free agent attention for 2003, though Jones could move himself into the late rounds with a good campaign in '02.

The Hawkeyes have a solid defense, probably one of the best in the Big Ten, and many of the prospects from this unit offer possibilities at the next level. Up front Colin Cole is an athletic lineman that's been used at both tackle and end. He is quick, fluid and makes plays in all directions of the field but lacks size and is easily handled at the point. He could be effective as an under-tackle in a three-four or playing the ever-popular three technique. Solid workouts prior to the draft will vault him into the late rounds. Middle linebacker Fred Barr is solid stuffing the run and covers the pass well in a small area but lacks overall lacks and as a two-down defender will be rookie free agent in '03. Junior Grant Steen is an athletic strong-side ‘backer with a bright future. Iowa is loaded in the secondary with several nice prospects. Benny Sapp, Warren's little cousin, is a speedy corner with solid cover instincts that has opposing quarterbacks throwing away from his direction. Sapp still has a ways to go before we'd consider him a top-flight corner prospect and needs time to iron out the rough edges of his game, but with a pending suspension from the Hawkeye program which could be permanent, he will be set back. Junior Bob Sanders is a heavy duty run defending strong safety that constantly throws his body around the action, sacrificing it to make the tackle. He shows a burst in a straight line and his cover skills are improving. Barely touching the scale at 5-8, Sanders may have limits at the next level and in many ways he reminds us of former Minnesota All American Tyrone Carter, now starting for the Vikings. Lastly; we like what little we saw of senior safety Derek Pagel last season and feel he has potential at the next level.

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