Iowa football: Projecting draft spots for Josh Jackson, Josey Jewell, others after NFL combine
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Boom. He needed to be under 4.5, and he is. Possible he’s the first CB off the board. https://t.co/uxhstQoheZ
— Jack W (@JackHawkWalters) March 5, 2018
ANSWER: Each of the five former Iowa players who took part in the NFL combine were impressive for different reasons in Indianapolis. Running back Akrum Wadley brought a business-like demeanor and tied for ninth among running backs in the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds. Cornerback Josh Jackson cracked the 4.5-second barrier in the 40. Linebacker Josey Jewell won the 60-yard shuttle and finished second in the 3-cone drill in his position group. Center James Daniels won the 20-yard shuttle and finished second in the 3-cone. Guard Sean Welsh was forthright and honest about his bouts with depression.
It’s likely all five players are draft picks. Each met with NFL teams while in Indianapolis. So where do they end up? Here’s a guess.
CB Josh Jackson — Chicago, first round (eighth overall). Jackson produced a requisite 40-yard dash time (4.49 seconds, later changed to 4.56) in Indianapolis. Chicago general manager Ryan Pace scouted the Iowa-Wisconsin football game last November in which Jackson returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns and also forced a fumble. With 18 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, Jackson showed he can play press coverage in an aggressive, blitzing defense like the one Chicago often employs. Jackson also had a formal interview over the weekend with the Bears, who have a need at cornerback.
C James Daniels — Buffalo, first round (21st overall). The Bills have consecutive picks at No. 21 and 22 and a need at center after a neck injury forced Eric Wood to retire. Daniels is considered either the best or second-best center prospect alongside Ohio State’s Billy Price. The Buffalo offensive line coach is Juan Castillo, whose son, Greg, played cornerback at Iowa. The Bills’ running scheme is perfect for Daniels, who is only 20 years old.
LB Josey Jewell — Detroit, second round. If this sounds like a reach, think again. Jewell is one of the toughest, most instinctive and physical linebackers in the draft, and his intangibles are even stronger. The Lions’ new coach is Matt Patricia, who was defensive coordinator in New England the last six years. Patricia loves cerebral players who execute within the system. Jewell elevates everyone around him with his toughness and accountability. Jewell had a formal interview with the Lions in Indianapolis.
G Sean Welsh — Indianapolis, fourth round. Welsh has four years of starting experience as a blocker in a zone scheme, and the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ style was similar. Former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich has taken over at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts and plans to employ a similar system. Welsh played four positions at Iowa and could become a plug-and-play interior offensive lineman for the Colts, who need offensive linemen.
RB Akrum Wadley — Los Angeles Rams, sixth round. The Rams have one of the NFL’s best runners in Todd Gurley but only one other running back on the roster had more than 11 carries last season. The Rams could use another change-of-pace runner who can spell Gurley and work in on third down and special teams. Wadley’s skills might be worth more than just a sixth-round pick, but with the abundance of available running backs, he could fall a bit.
A few other former Hawkeyes not invited to the combine also could become draft selections. They include linebacker Ben Niemann and offensive linemen Ike Boettger and Boone Myers.
Others likely to attend an offseason camp or sign as an undrafted free agent include running back James Butler, fullback Drake Kulick, wide receiver Matt VandeBerg, defensive tackle Nate Bazata, linebacker Bo Bower, safety Miles Taylor and long snapper Tyler Kluver.
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