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IOWA CITY — Any concerns about Tyler Linderbaum’s arm length ahead of the NFL Draft is a laughing matter in Iowa City.
When former teammates Zach VanValkenburg and Tyler Goodson heard about the national criticism of Linderbaum’s relatively short arm length, they both had the same instinct — to laugh.
The questions about the arm length started at the NFL Combine. The standout center from Solon had the shortest arm measurement — 31 1/8 inches — of any offensive lineman in Indianapolis.
Between VanValkenburg’s perspective as a defensive lineman and Goodson’s perspective as the running back relying on Linderbaum’s blocks, neither is concerned about that measurement.
“If you watched all 14 games, I’m sure the guy against him wasn’t thinking about his arm length when he’s getting reached,” said VanValkenburg, Iowa’s starting defensive end for the last two seasons.
VanValkenburg might have been worried if Linderbaum was farther outside on the offensive line, where there’d be more open space.
“Some of that stuff obviously I think is a little more important for maybe like a tackle,” VanValkenburg said.
Goodson said he doesn’t know why people would be concerned about it considering what the film shows.
“If you want to cut the tape on him, he’s out there driving dudes 20 yards downfield, putting guys in the bleachers,” Goodson said. “Once Lindy gets his hands on you, then you call it wraps.”
Linderbaum has slipped in many mock drafts, largely because of concerns about his arm length.
CBS’ Chris Trapasso slotted Linderbaum 24th in his March 23 mock draft, saying the unanimous consensus All-American “falls a bit because of his shorter arms and the fact he was under 300 pounds at the combine.”
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah had Linderbaum going 31st in a mock draft released March 22.
Before the combine, most mock drafts had Linderbaum as a top-20 pick.
The concerns about Linderbaum’s arm length are not unanimous among draft experts, though. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. picked Linderbaum to go 14th to the Baltimore Ravens in his latest mock draft.
It’s not the first time in recent history an Iowa offensive lineman projected to go in the first round experienced some surprising pre-draft scrutiny.
Wirfs, now an All-Pro offensive tackle in the NFL, undoubtedly got the last laugh there.
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