So, Geno Stone had to wait to hear his name picked in the NFL Draft. It got into the seventh round Saturday before the Hawkeye safety heard his name.
The Baltimore Ravens picked the 5-10, 210-pound safety with the 219th pick.
So, Stone came to Iowa from New Castle, Pa., with an impressive 22 offers, including Harvard and Yale. There wasn’t much interest from the Power 5. Michigan State thought it had an opening and talked to Stone about a visit. It didn’t happen and that made him double down on his first choice, which was Akron. Even Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz wondered if Stone “robbed a bank” because so many Power 5 programs didn’t take a look.
After a late offer and a long drive to Iowa City, Stone picked the Hawkeyes.
So yes, Stone had to wait until the seventh round. And that’s OK, he’s had plenty of practice brushing off doubt.
Part of the highlight package the draft telecast played for Stone was his pick-6 at Penn State in 2018. Of course, the “Penn State passed on Stone” storyline made an appearance.
So yeah, seventh round. Stone is used to coming in low and leaving on a high.
At the combine in February, Stone talked about the Iowa coach who helped him and a lot of Hawkeyes defensive backs into the draft, defensive coordinator/secondary coach Phil Parker.
“As a defensive back, coach Parker really gets all the underappreciated defensive backs and turns them into some gems,” Stone said. “You look at from anyone from Bob Sanders all the way up to Amani Hooker from last year. There you saw guys people really never thought about in the recruiting process and coach Parker took them.”
Stone got some high praise on the draft telecast, which ran on both ESPN and NFL Network.
“This has been my guy through the draft process,” NFL Newtork draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “When I talk to general managers and personnel executives, ‘Tell me what I’m missing on Geno Stone, because I have a big grade on Geno Stone. He’s my 12th safety. What am I missing?’
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“I couldn’t get any support for him around the league. All the guy does is pick off balls, he plays faster than he times, he can high point. He’s quick to read, key and diagnose. He delivered big hits. He played with energy. I don’t know, I guess I just missed on this one. I thought this guy was a darn good football player and did not imagine he’d be available at this point.”
As the 219th pick, Stone is in line for a $2.7 million, four-year contract and a $107,000 signing bonus. Stone left the Hawkeyes with a year of eligibility remaining. As a junior, Stone had 70 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, four pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
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