Two Hawkeyes And A Cyclone Go In The 1st Round of NFL Draft
The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City was going as expected on Thursday night. A number of teams went with quarterbacks early. Alabama had two players drafted among the top three picks. But then in the middle of the first round, the state of Iowa took over. Two former Iowa Hawkeyes and an Iowa State Cyclone heard their names called and will soon report to their new teams.
The first Hawkeye off the board was Lukas Van Ness, going 13th overall to the Green Bay Packers. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that Van Ness becomes the highest-drafted defensive lineman of the Kirk Ferentz era. The fact that got hammered home prior to the draft was that Van Ness never started at Iowa. That didn't matter. He still led Iowa with 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks during his sophomore season. The Packers needed depth at the pass-rushing position with star Rashan Gary recovering from an injury. Van Ness becomes the latest Hawkeye to put on the green and gold joining the likes of Micah Hyde, Mike Daniels, and Bryan Bulaga.
The New York Jets have made a few headlines this NFL offseason. Perhaps you heard they got a new quarterback! After completing that historic deal, the Jets made history again on Thursday night as they selected Iowa State defensive star Will Mcdonald IV. McDonald becomes the first Cyclone player drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft in 50 years, according to the Gazette. He'll join former Cyclones Allen Lazard and Breece Hall on the Jets roster. McDonald had 5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss for ISU last season and was the 15th overall pick in the first round.
One of the surprising picks of last night's first round came courtesy of the Detroit Lions at pick number 18. Prior to the draft, Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell was expected to be an early second-day selection. The Lions disagreed, taking Campbell 18th overall. The Iowa linebacker had a senior season for the ages. He was named a consensus All-American and was the first Iowa linebacker to win the Butkus Award, according to the Gazette. He improved his draft stock with an impressive showing at the NFL combine. The Gazette reports that Iowa joined Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State as the only schools to have multiple players selected in the top 20 of this year's NFL Draft.