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Iowa pro day: NFL scouts descend on Hawkeyes
IOWA CITY - Just a few months ago, Iowa football would've been in a huge amount of trouble if its seniors were hooked up with agents.
What a difference those few months have made.
All-American and Outland Trophy-winning offensive tackle Brandon Scherff will pass on any fishing or hunting plans and will attend the NFL draft when it begins April 30 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.
'I'm not totally decided on that, but I'm leaning toward it,” Scherff said Monday, after running through drills for scouts from 30-plus NFL teams at the Iowa football complex. 'My agent (Neil Cornrich) told me I should go. I have to listen to him.
'I wanted to back to Denison (his hometown), but he said you should probably go. It'd help me to be there.”
For Scherff and defensive tackle Carl Davis, both of whom have been projected as first-rounder picks (Scherff in the top 10 and Davis lower in the first round), it's part of negotiation and being a professional athlete. The facade of amateurism has been lifted. They are commodities who are looking out for themselves.
'It's great, honestly, just being able to put your name out there and kind of be able to market for yourself,” said Davis, who's represented by the SportsStars agency (which counts former Hawkeye and Green Bay Packers D-lineman Mike Daniels as a client). 'Being an NCAA athlete, of course, you can't do that. It's been what I expected, it's all been good.”
Davis' stock has climbed since the combine season started. He's trying to block out the draft predictions and focus on the business of the game. He will visit the Buffalo Bills this week and has a workout with the Carolina Panthers scheduled. During Monday's pro day, Davis put up 28 repetitions on the bench press.
Scherff said his agent told him to focus on pro day and not worry about visits with teams. The 6-5, 322-pounder had a vertical leap measured at 32 1/2 inches.
Scherff began his career at Iowa as a guard, but was moved to left tackle permanently his sophomore season. That's the big question for him going into the draft. Is he a powerful drive-blocking guard? Or is he a franchise left offensive tackle?
'[Teams] have asked me which one I preferred,” Scherff said. 'I just said, ‘Wherever you play me, I'll play that.' That's how you answer that.”
Offensive tackle Andrew Donnal also has climbed the charts during combine season. On Monday, he increased the bench press reps he put up at the NFL Combine (which were February in Indianapolis) from 17 to 23, which puts him in solid O-line territory. Donnal's agent is Jack Bechta, who's repped a ton of former Hawkeyes including Tim Dwight, Eric Steinbach, Jonathan Babineaux, Pat Angerer, A.J Edds, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Micah Hyde, Anthony Hitchens, Tony Moeaki and Ricky Stanzi.
'Your agent is a key part of this,” Donnal said. 'Communication with them is key. Being able to schedule workouts, talk with them back-and-forth on things I need to do, he has a lot of knowledge. My agent has been in it for a while, been with a lot of players. He's very knowledgeable and I'm definitely listening.”
Donnal started combine season on the edge of the draft discussion. Now, after teams have gotten a look under the hood, he's likely going to be drafted.
'I've heard a couple of things, but it's really early,” said Donnal, who plans to go home to Monclova, Ohio for the draft. 'I just need to keep going through the process, keep meeting with coaches, keep working out. We'll see come draft day.”
Iowa has a tier of definite/probable NFL picks this year and then a few hopefuls. Linebacker Quinton Alston knows he's going to have to hustle to get into the league. He's keeping all thoughts positive and throwing himself into it.
Alston has signed with an agent. As he did interviews, he kind of looked around the front of the building to see that his agent tracked down a few scouts to speak with.
'He's actually outside right now,” Alston said. 'I'm about to go talk to him right now (about potential visits with teams). He's out there right now. We'll see, I'm hopeful. Anyone who's willing to talk football on the whiteboard or go to the indoor, I'm always open to it. I'm trying to keep the confidence going and hopefully get some workouts soon.”
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