IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa OL Cole Croston is a fringe NFL draft pick in the eyes of most prognosticators. He could hear his name called near the end of the draft Saturday or he could go undrafted and sign a free-agent rookie contract.
Who is Cole Croston: 5 things to know
He went from walk-on to All-Big Ten
Croston came to Iowa in 2012 weighing 225 pounds; he leaves it weighing 315. Adding the weight allowed him to not only become a key piece of Iowa’s offensive line, but, combined with his development, is giving him a chance to make a roster at the next level.
He has NFL roots
His dad, Dave, was an All-Big Ten first-team tackle for Iowa in 1986 and was selected by Green Bay in the third round of the 1987 NFL draft.
Injuries limited him as a senior
A high ankle sprain cost him four games in 2016. When he did play, he rotated between left and right tackle, starting the first five games on the left side then starting three more on the right.
He brings position flexibility and athleticism
Croston played tackle in college, but may fit best as a guard in the NFL. He worked out at center during Iowa’s pro day and is willing to play anywhere on the line if it helps him make a roster.
He tested well at pro day, too. His 32.5-inch vertical jump and 7.38-second 3-cone drill highlight his athleticism. His strength is a concern; he benched 225 pounds just 17 times.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) March 28, 2017
NFL teams like Iowa players
Coach Kirk Ferentz has had 53 players drafted in the NFL since 2003. The Hawkeyes are known as offensive line factory for the pros. The reputation could help Croston, regardless of whether he is drafted or signs with a team as a free agent.