Over 30 Hawkeyes make NFL rosters

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FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The NFL revealed Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, that several positive COVID-19 tests were found a day earlier by one of its testing partners, and the Chicago Bears said they had nine false positives. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)

 

NFL teams made their final cuts this week and when the dust settled, over 30 Hawkeyes were set to suit up on Sundays. Seven rookies made their teams’ roster. That includes all four that were drafted and three who weren’t, in Alaric Jackson, Mekhi Sargent and Jack Heflin.

It continues a strong trend of undrafted Hawkeyes finding success in the league. Iowa now has seven players who went undrafted on NFL rosters.

I’ve always told our guys, it doesn’t matter how you get there,” Kirk Ferentz said at press conference Tuesday afternoon. “It is just is a matter of what you do when you get there.”

Ike Boettger (2018), Kristian Welch (2020), Matt Nelson (2019) and Ben Niemann (2018) are the other four undrafted Hawkeyes to make NFL rosters.

It’s not a trend that happens by accident. Outside of needing to be supremely talented football players, as most NFL players are, it takes a certain mentality. One that Iowa tries to instill in it’s players.

“It’s hard,” Coach Ferentz said. “And the guys that typically end up sticking, are the guys that figure out that you’ve got to work hard and show up every day and do your absolute best and show something for the team or organization to invest the time. And I like to think that our guys at least understand when they go in, what they need to be doing and hopefully won’t self-destruct.”

Iowa is also one the best represented schools in the NFL, with the 10th most players in the league.

In total, there’s 33 Hawkeyes on active NFL rosters. That number is always subject to change, but here’s the list as of week 1:

Baltimore Ravens (2): Geno Stone (SS), Kristian Welch (LB)
Buffalo Bills (3): Ike Boettger (OG), Micah Hyde (FS), AJ Epenesa (DE)
Carolina Panthers (1): Daviyon Nixon (DT)
Chicago Bears (1): James Daniels (OG)
Cincinnati Bengals (1): Riley Reiff (OT)
Dallas Cowboys (1): Chauncey Golston (DE)
Denver Broncos (3): Noah Fant (TE), Josey Jewell (LB), Michael Ojemudia (CB)
Detroit Lions (2): T.J. Hockenson (TE), Matt Nelson (OT)
Green Bay Packers (1): Jack Heflin (DE)
Houston Texans (2): Desmond King II (CB), Christian Kirksey (LB)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1): C.J. Beathard (QB)
Kansas City Chiefs (3): Austin Blythe (C), Anthony Hitchens (LB), Ben Niemann (LB)
Los Angeles Chargers (2): Bryan Bulaga (OT), Nick Niemann (LB)
Los Angeles Rams (1): Alaric Jackson (OT)
Minnesota Vikings (1): Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR)
New England Patriots (1): Carl Davis (DT)
New York Giants (1): Josh Jackson (CB)
San Francisco 49ers (1): George Kittle (TE)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2): Anthony Nelson (LB), Tristian Wirfs (OT)
Tennessee Titans (2): Amani Hooker (SS), Mekhi Sargent (RB)
Washington Football Team (1): Brandon Scherff (OG)

Does not include players on injury reserve or practice squads.

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