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Five more Hawkeyes picked on Day 3, matches school record

Posted on 30. Apr, 2011 by in Iowa Football

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

The Iowa Hawkeyes matched a school record on Saturday when five more players were selected in the 2011 NFL Draft to give them a total of six taken, a record previously set just last year.

After defensive end Adrian Clayborn was taken on April 28 in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first player to come off the board Saturday was fellow defensive lineman Christian Ballard, who was taken in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings with the 106th overall pick. Ballard became the first Hawkeye player since former linebacker Chad Greenway in 2006 to go to Minnesota.

Ballard told members of the Minnesota media that he had contact with the Vikings down at the Senior Bowl last January, and that he will likely be asked to play defensive tackle in Minnesota’s 4-3 scheme. At Iowa, he played both tackle and end, with tackle being his primary position as a junior in 2009 when the Hawkeyes won the Orange Bowl.

“I’m just willing to play wherever they need me to play,” Ballard said. “Just playing both will give me the opportunity so that I can really take my game to the next level.”

He was also asked about reports of a failed drug test while participating at the NFL Combine, replying by saying the testing was confidential and a matter he did not want to discuss further.

Ballard was the lone fourth-rounder, then a trio of Hawkeyes were selected in the fifth round in a span of 27 picks.

Leading this flurry of fifth-round guys was quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who became the first Iowa signal-caller in 19 years to be drafted when the Kansas City Chiefs took him with the 135th overall pick. This also marked the second straight year Kansas City has taken an Iowa player, as the Chiefs selected former tight end Tony Moeaki in the third round of the 2010 draft.

Stanzi is expected to be behind current Kansas City starter Matt Cassel on the depth chart. He will also have the opportunity to establish a working relationship with the Chiefs’ new quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, who was previously an assistant in Baltimore and before that the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

“Working with him throughout the process a little bit has been awesome,” Stanzi said during a conference call with Kansas City media. “To get to know him made me very comfortable with him, and he is a tremendous coach. I felt that we had a good time working together, and I am excited to continue that.”

Seven picks later, defensive tackle Karl Klug was the third lineman to be chosen as the Tennessee Titans used the 142nd overall pick to take him. Titans head coach Mike Munchak described Klug as both “a pest” and “a nuisance,” in a good way.

“He’s a guy just irritating offensive linemen because the guy’s going hard every play,” Munchak said during a press conference with Tennessee media. “You can’t relax on him, especially when you get him in a rotation and move him around. He’s comfortable inside. We feel he’ll have no problem adjusting outside.”

Towards the end of the fifth round, offensive guard Julian Vandervelde went 161st overall to the Philadelphia Eagles, making him the fourth offensive lineman in three years to be picked in the NFL Draft.

In an interview with the Eagles’ official web site, Vandervelde described Philadelphia as being at the top of his list of teams, and also said that Eagles’ offensive line coach Howard Mudd as someone Iowa coaches would make reference to.

“I really feel like I can come in and contribute and have a lot of success in this system,” Vandervelde said to philadelphiaeagles.com.

The final Hawkeye player taken was safety Tyler Sash when the New York Giants used one of their sixth-round picks (198th overall) to select the junior. Sash isn’t the first Iowa defensive back to go at that pick. Former Hawkeye Matt Bowen coincidentally went 198th overall to the St. Louis Rams back in 2000.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese made reference to Sash recording 13 interceptions as a three-year starter at Iowa during a press conference with New York media and added that he anticipates the Oskaloosa native being a contributor to the Giants on special teams.

“This guy has got good size, he runs good enough,” Reese said. “He’s not your top-flight athlete, but the guy has a feel for the game. Instinctive. Excellent ball skills.”

Among the list of Hawkeyes to go undrafted this year includes punter Ryan Donahue, linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Jeff Tarpinian, tight end Allen Reisner, fullback Brett Morse, safety Brett Greenwood and wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. Because of the current NFL lockout, these guys aren’t allowed to sign as rookie free agents with any teams until a new collective bargaining agreement has beeen reached between the NFL owners and the players.

2011 NFL DRAFT:

Round 1 (20th overall) — Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 4 (106th overall) — Christian Ballard, DL, Minnesota Vikings

Round 5 (135th overall) — Ricky Stanzi, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Round 5 (142nd overall) — Karl Klug, DT, Tennessee Titans

Round 5 (161st overall) — Julian Vandervelde, OL, Philadelphia Eagles

Round 6 (198th overall) — Tyler Sash, S, New York Giants

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