The 2019 NFL Draft showcased Iowa as the true “Tight End U” of college football. But the 2020 draft might just demonstrate Iowa’s all-around excellence at developing NFL talents.
In a new Big Board from Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Renner, two Iowa stars are being tipped to go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Renner has selected Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa and offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs as potential first-round picks. He has Epenesa as his No. 5 overall prospect, and had Wirfs as his No. 16 overall prospect.
Regarding Epenesa, Renner noted that he is already coming off an elite pass rushing season.
“Only Kentucky’s Josh Allen had a higher win-rate as a pass-rusher among Power-5 defenders last season.”
Epenesa had 10.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, 37 tackles, four forced fumbles, and three passes defended last season.
As for Wirfs, he was listed as the top offensive tackle in college football. Renner cited his superb blocking as a big reason for having him 16th.
“Wirfs’ five big-time blocks last year were the seventh-most of any tackle in the country.”
This past year the Hawkeyes saw two tight ends taken in the first round – T. J. Hockenson and Noah Fant. It was the first time since 1997 that multiple Iowa players went in round one.
But Iowa has never seen back-to-back seasons with multiple first-round draft picks. Could 2020 end that trend?