Yet again many of Kirk Ferentz’s former Iowa Hawkeye standouts will be making their presence felt on Sundays this NFL season. While the total number of ex-Hawks on NFL rosters is down from 2015, the University of Iowa still ranks in the top twenty-percent of the 119 NCAA Division I rankings with twenty total guys to start the 2016 season.
Photo from @HawkeyeFootball, Twitter
Back in 2015, the Hawks ranked fourth out of the fourteen Big Ten Conference schools with 23 ex-Hawks on rosters. Perhaps the most interesting thing about those on NFL rosters is the lack of ‘skill-position’ players who are former Hawks. Of the 20 players currently in the NFL, just one is a ‘skill-position’ guy every down he is in, and that’s Tyler Sash’s former battery-mate Micah Hyde.
This number of skill-position players was originally thought to be two as the NFL’s regular season rapidly approached throughout August. However, on September 3, former one-year stud and Iowa record holder for touchdowns by a true freshman, Brandon Wegher, was released by the Carolina Panthers. Wegher has one of the most unique roads to the NFL for guys who played for Kirk Ferentz, as he wound up being an old-man of sorts finishing up his college football career with the Morningside Mustangs in Sioux City. Wegher is currently a free agent but is expected to become a member of the Panthers’ practice squad unless another team chooses to take a shot on him.
Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa teams are genetically the same year after year (run the ball, stop the run… repeat) and the prevalence of this is none more evident than when you take a look at where all of these ex-Hawks are playing in the league: 9/20 Iowa boys in the big leagues are o-linemen, another five of these are d-linemen, two are tight ends, three are linebackers, and one DB.
Will C.J. Beathard finally become the first Iowa quarterback since, IDK, ever to make a name for himself in the NFL??? Time will tell, but you can bet the big bucks that someone up front blocking for him will make a name for themselves on Sundays.