The Big Board: Four Hawkeyes Go In The First Five Rounds
Tristan Wirfs and A.J. Epenesa are the former Iowa players getting most attention in the NFL mock drafts.
But there may be at least two, and maybe three, other Hawkeyes who go in the seven-round draft.
Hanson stayed true to his earlier thoughts on Wirfs and Epenesa, having both go in the first round. He has Wirfs, an offensive tackle, going with the No. 4 pick to the New York Giants and Epenesa, a defensive end, going to the New England Patriots with the 23rd pick.
"With (Clemson linebacker Isaiah) Simmons off the board (Hanson has him going to the Detroit Lions with the third pick), the choice likely comes down to which “hog molly” Dave Gettleman prefers," Hanson wrote. "Last year’s starting right tackle Mike Remmers is now in Kansas City. While the Giants signed Cameron Fleming in free agency, his deal is for one year and he’d be better utilized as a swing tackle than as an every-week starter. Meanwhile, left tackle Nate Solder has not lived to the expectations of his massive contract.
"The first true freshman to start at tackle during the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa, Wirfs has freakish athleticism for his size and he could play either tackle spot or kick inside, if necessary."
On Epenesa, Hanson wrote, "While not a speed rusher, Epenesa could remind Bill Belichick of one of his former players (Trey Flowers). The former Hawkeye wins with a blend of power, length, technique and heavy hands, and has the versatility to rush from the inside as well. While he started 2019 slowly, Epenesa closed the season strong with eight sacks and four forced fumbles over his final five games."
Hanson then has cornerback Michael Ojemudia going to the New York Jets in the fourth round with the 120th overall pick, and safety Geno Stone going in the fifth round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 162nd overall pick.
Hanson doesn't have quarterback Nate Stanley, a three-year starter at Iowa, going in the first five rounds.