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Former Iowa wide receiver Brandon Smith kicked up a little dust Sunday, a day after he agreed to terms with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.
Smith had 23 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns last season. He put out a tweet that suggested he should have had more opportunities to, presumably, be a big-play guy.
Someone should have informed Smith that Iowa isn’t where wide receivers go to become high NFL draft picks. His receiving teammate, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, was a fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings Saturday.
Incredibly, perhaps, that is the highest an Iowa wide receiver has been drafted in the 22 years Kirk Ferentz has been the Hawkeyes’ head coach, and the highest at Iowa since Tim Dwight went in Round 4 of the 1998 draft.
Smith-Marsette was the fourth receiver to be drafted in the Ferentz era. Kevin Kasper (2001), Kahlil Hill (2002) and Marvin McNutt (2012) were sixth-rounders. Kasper was the only one to catch a pass in an NFL game.
Just two Iowa running backs (Ladell Betts, 2002 second round and Shonn Greene 2009 third round) have been drafted in those 22 years.
Iowa, however, is tied for 16th in NFL draftees over the last five years, with 20. That’s more than any other program in the Big Ten West, and fourth-most in the conference behind Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.
The Hawkeyes haven’t had a so-called skill position (quarterback, running back, wide receiver) player taken in the first round since quarterback Chuck Long and running back Ronnie Harmon in 1985, and no one at one of those positions has gone in the first two rounds since Betts in 2002.
Iowa has had 10 first-round picks under Ferentz. Five were offensive linemen, three were tight ends. The others were a linebacker and a defensive lineman.
By the way, the Hawkeyes have had a player taken in every NFL draft since 1978, so that’s 44 years in a row by my math. Michigan State just had its streak snapped Saturday at 80 years.
Michigan and USC have had players selected in each of the last 83 seasons.
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