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Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Bulaga’

Spievey not a No. 1, but he’s a keeper

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The latest projections by Scout, Inc. have Bryan Bulaga listed as the 27th best player available in April’s NFL Draft. MyNFLDraft.com projects him going No. 28 to Green Bay in the first round of the draft.

Amari Spievey? He’s nowhere to be found in any draft projections. But the junior cornerback is going to test the waters anyway. Spievey confirmed Monday what most of us already assumed to be the case, that he was foregoing his senior season at Iowa to enter the draft.

I have a feeling Spievey, like Bulaga, could be in the NFL for a very long time. Both play positions that always are in great demand at the next level. Everyone seems to be looking for a competent cover corner or a left tackle who can pass block.

But while Bulaga apparently is going to get the big money that comes with being a first-round pick, I’m guessing Spievey won’t get selected until the third or fourth round of the draft. He has fairly average size and speed for his position. And since so many opponents this season avoided throwing the ball in his direction, there may not be a lot on video that will impress the scouts. Whoever picks him, however, probably is going to get a guy that will do a solid job for the next decade or so.

With Spievey turning pro, it seems likely that the Hawkeyes will have six players who are almost certain to get drafted. A recent CBSSports.com listing of the top seniors in the draft had Kyle Calloway listed as the 49th best prospect with Tony Moeaki 74th, A.J. Edds 82nd and Pat Angerer 110th.

Bulaga gone, but reinforcements on hand

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

A few thoughts on Iowa’s offensive line situation as I sit here killing time in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, waiting for Delta Airlines to find a way to get me home from Miami:

I hope Bryan Bulaga knows what he’s doing. Iowa’s junior left tackle has declared for this spring’s NFL draft and while there never has been any doubt that Bulaga was destined to play in the pros, I would have liked his chances a lot more with one more year of college. He could be a late first-round pick this time. Had he waited, he might have been a top-five guy.

One concern is that Bulaga, although very mature both physically and emotionally, will not turn 21 years old until March 21. There weren’t any players in the NFL this season under the age of 21. In fact, the youngest player in the history of the league was Houston Texans defensive lineman Amobi Okoye, who was two months past his 20th birthday when he debuted in 2007.

This puts it in perspective: Riley Reiff, the redshirt freshman who figures to replace Bulaga at left tackle for the Hawkeyes, is actually three months older than Bulaga.

I just hope he’s not jumping too soon.

Even without Bulaga, Dace Richardson, Rafael Eubanks and Kyle Calloway, Iowa is going to have a good offensive line next season.

My guess at a projected starting lineup:

LT – Reiff. Reminiscent of Ross Verba in that he’s not overly big but very efficient. If he holds this position for the next three years, he would be 24 by the time he plays his final college game.

LG – Adam Gettis. Once he gets some experience and improves his pass blocking, he should be a star.

C – Josh Koeppel. He pushed Rafael Eubanks for the job this fall and could finally get his chance as a senior.

RG – Julian Vandervelde. Davenport native will be the leader of this group. If another guard emerges, he could get moved to center.

RT – Nolan MacMillan. After a year of prep school and a redshirt year, the Canadian native is about as physically mature as any freshman around.

Cody Hundertmark, who moved recently from defense to offense, could figure in the mix somewhere, too, as could James Ferentz, Kyle Haganman, Markus Zusevics, Casey McMillan and others. There were five other freshman offensive linemen who were redshirted this season. There’s more depth and talent here than people realize.

Big Ten shut out on Camp All-American team

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

The first of many All-American teams is out and if this is any indication, the Big Ten is not very highly thought of nationwide.

There is not a single Big Ten player on the 25-player first team of the Walter Camp Foundation team. None. Zero. My guess is that might be a first. I certainly don’t recall it happening before. Heck, this might be the first time in a long time there isn’t at least one Ohio State player in there.

There are five Big Ten guys on the second team, including Iowa’s Pat Angerer and Bryan Bulaga, but it’s clear that the people who select these teams don’t think there are any really elite players in the league.
The question: Is that an accurate depiction or just perception?

I’d say it’s perception. Other than offensive skill position players, where there are concrete stats that can be used for comparative purposes, there’s a lot of guesswork that goes into these selec-tions. There are 10 Camp first-teamers from the SEC (Alabama and Florida accounted for seven of those) and seven from the Big 12, and while those leagues are better than the Big Ten right now, they’re not that much better.

For what’s worth, the Big East also got shut out and there was only one ACC player on the first team.

Besides Angerer and Bulaga, other Big Ten players on the second were team were Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones and two Michigan players – defensive end Brandon Graham and punter Zoltan Mesko. No one from either Ohio State or Penn State.

All-Big Ten teams had some surprises

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

There were only a few surprises on the All-Big Ten teams that were announced Monday night. One of the surprises was that Iowa was as well-represented as it was.

I figured the Hawkeyes might get as many as five first-team selections, but they had a league-high seven first-team players on the team chosen by the BigTen coaches, only four on the media team.
The five I thought were deserving: Linebacker Pat Angerer, strong safety Tyler Sash, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga and cornerback Amari Spievey. All of those players made the coaches team and all but Spievey were honored by the media.

The coaches also put Dace Richardson and Tony Moeaki on the first team even though Richardson missed the last 4 ½ games of the conference season and Moeaki was more or less missing in action over that same span.

Other thoughts:

– The offensive line, which never really got its act together, had four players selected. In addition to Bulaga and Richardson, Rafael Eubanks and Kyle Calloway made the second team.

– Although 19 Iowa players received some sort of mention, there was at least one more that merited at least honorable mention. Receiver Marvin McNutt scored six touchdowns in a span of four Big Ten games, including some of the clutch plays of the season.

– Iowa’s defense received the recognition it deserved. The only two starters who didn’t get some sort of mention were Jeremiha Hunter and Shaun Prater.

– Although everyone knew Wisconsin’s John Clay and Penn State’s Evan Royster would be the first team running backs, I thought Adam Robinson had a chance to make the second team. He ended up being honorable mention on both teams with Purdue’s Ralph Bolden and Ohio State’s Brandon Saine making the second team.

– There was widespread disagreement on the first team wide receivers. The coaches picked Minnesota’s Eric Decker and Michigan State’s Blair White. The media went with Indiana’s Tandon Doss and Purdue’s Keith Smith. I would have voted for White and Smith.

– It was interesting that Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick was the coaches’ defensive player of the year, but he wasn’t even first team on the media squad. There’s no way he had a better season than Wisconsin’s O’Brien Schofield, Michigan State’s Greg Jones (the media pick) and Angerer.

– You can’t help but wonder how the coach of the year voting might have gone if the voting hadn’t been done with a week to go in the season. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz won the award, but Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern club finished very strong, beating Wisconsin in the final game to finish 8-4. Fitz might have gotten a few more votes if the voting was done later.