After a terrific season, the cherry on top for the Hawkeye Football team took place over the past three days as a record setting six Iowa players were selected in the 2010 NFL Draft. On Saturday, A.J. Edds was picked in the 4th round by the Miami Dolphins and then Kyle Calloway broke the modern mark when the Buffalo Bills selected him early in the 7th round.
It was quite an achievement for Coach Kirk Ferentz, his staff, and the Hawkeye players who will continue on doing what they love, playing football.
Bryan Bulaga started the run on Thursday evening when he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 23rd pick in the first round. Fittingly it ended with his teammate on the other side of the offensive line, Calloway, shuffling off to Buffalo in the 7th round.
Three times (2003, 2004, and 2005) during the Ferentz era we have seen five Hawkeyes selected in the seven round NFL Draft. In 2010, this group of Hawkeyes set a new standard for excellence with six players being drafted. It was also the first time in the Ferentz era that four players were selected in the first four rounds of the draft. In his tenure at Iowa, Kirk Ferentz has now had 41 players drafted to the NFL with more certainly to come.
This ties the mark set back in 1976, when six players were drafted by the NFL in the modern era, but two of those players were actually selected in the expansion draft that season. In the early years of the NFL, the Hawkeyes did have nine players selected in 1945, but that was when the league had a 30 round draft and seven of those nine players were drafted after round 12.
One of the more remarkable and telling numbers of the 2010 NFL Draft from the Iowa perspective was that the Hawkeyes trailed only Florida (9), Alabama (7), USC (7), and Oklahoma (7) in number of players drafted this year.
While you never want to look too far ahead, next year's Hawkeye flavor could be just as strong with ESPN's Mel Kiper already projecting Adrian Clayborn as a top five overall pick and seniors Ricky Stanzi, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Karl Klug, Christian Ballard, Ryan Donahue, and Jeremiah Hunter certainly on the NFL Draft radar.
After seeing Bulaga, Pat Angerer, Amari Spievey, and Tony Moeaki get selected, it was a restless morning for A.J. Edds as he waited for his phone to ring. Finally the Miami Dolphins made the call he had been waiting for in the 4th round with the 119th overall pick.
"It was getting hard to watch and I got up just to do something else around the house," Edds said on Saturday afternoon. "Then I was coming downstairs and the phone rings and it's the Dolphins."
Ironically, Edds closed out his Iowa career in the very stadium that he will be calling home as a professional.
"To be honest, that was the last thing on my mind when I got the news, but I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity and I can't wait to get started."
In the 7th round, Calloway finally came off the board when the Bills selected him with 216th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft.
This kind of success doesn't come easy. It comes from hard work, dedication, and the desire to reach your potential. That is the mark of great coaching, starting with Kirk Ferentz and going right through his entire staff.
Some might consider Paul Burmeister of the NFL Network to be a bit of a homer because he played for Iowa. He is also a pretty objective observer who as part of his day to day job, has the ear of a nearly every person in the National Football League.
His comments early in the week about the perception of Iowa Football in the NFL are worth repeating.
"It is a feather in these guys cap that they played at Iowa. When they come out the NFL people know that any player that comes through the Kirk Ferentz program is well coached, hard-nosed, and they embrace the idea of working hard and practicing hard all week. You can't say that about every program. Someone who has been successful in Kirk's program, someone who earns praise from Kirk coming out, those coaches take that seriously and they respect Kirk. They know that a kid that comes through Iowa is going to have a great chance of being successful in the NFL because of the way that Kirk runs his program. That isn't just a thought from a few people. That is the prevailing opinion on Iowa Football."
That perception certainly rang true in the 2010 NFL Draft and will likely continue as long as Kirk Ferentz is leading the Iowa Football program.