Speed factor vaults Iowa guard Adam Gettis into mid-round discussion

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INDIANAPOLIS — Adam Gettis quietly became a second-team all-Big Ten guard last fall by perfecting his technique and staying healthy.

But Gettis loudly stepped on the big stage at the NFL Scouting Combine with a speedy time in the 40-yard dash. Gettis was timed at 4.91 seconds, the best among offensive linemen. That would be impressive, except for Gettis, it wasn’t surprising.

“I think I’ve got a little bit of speed that people don’t think I have,” Gettis said.

Gettis previously had run a 4.83 in the 40. His speed has helped him enter the discussion as a middle-round draft prospect, said Dan Shonka, national scout and general manager for Ourlads Scouting Services.

“He had a great year,” Shonka said. “An excellent guard. Excellent on cutting off backside pursuit, he leaked through there, he’s got his head on a swivel, he’s looking for blitz pickup, he cut off linebackers ... He’s good on the second level. Crafty kind of offensive lineman.”

“I really like Adam. The thing is, you worry about that injury history. But hey, if he passed all the physicals ...”

Injuries have caused problems for Gettis in the past. He started only two games as a junior after battling through ankle injuries. But he rebounded as a senior to start every game for Iowa.

“In 2010, I believe I wasn’t able to really get out there and play,” Gettis said. “But 2011, my senior year, I think I did pretty good. I was completely healthy.”

Gettis described his primary attributes as “my quickness, quick feet, hand placement, technique.”

In his annual NFL draft guide, Shonka agreed with Gettis’ assessment.

“Quick and athletic in his play ... can anchor despite his size,” Shonka wrote. “Can leverage quick defensive linemen. A battler with good second level angles and finish ... controls the defender with his hands ... takes proper angles on zone blocks.”

Shonka also wrote Gettis needs to get stronger and stay healthy to enter the starting lineup but “has the talent athletically to play on Sundays.”

Gettis is smallish by NFL standards, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 293 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. But he said he relies on his technique to overcome his possible shortcomings.

“I think the big thing just playing at Iowa is technique,” Gettis said. “A lot of guys don’t really teach technique, but at Iowa that’s all we talk about. Technique and fundamentals are the biggest things that Iowa offensive linemen do. I believe that carries over to the league.”

At the combine Gettis met with more than 25 teams and fielded questions ranging from his personal life to his relationships with past Iowa players like Bryan Bulaga. Gettis said Iowa’s legacy of starting NFL offensive linemen under Coach Kirk Ferentz could help him get selected in this week’s draft. He also touted the Big Ten as solid preparation for the NFL and said Penn State’s Devon Still — a first- or second-round selection this week — was the best he faced.

“A lot of offensive linemen come out of the Big Ten, Bryan Bulaga, Marshal Yanda, you’ve got guys like that who are flourishing in the league,” Gettis said. “A lot of Big Ten linemen I believe do well in the league. So it really translates over to the NFL.”

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