Kirk Ferentz is entering his 20th year on the I-Club circuit as Iowa's head coach. He talks about the importance of first-round NFL Draft picks.
It seemed like there was a good chance that, for the first time under head coach Kirk Ferentz, the Iowa football program would have multiple first-round picks in the same NFL draft.
Instead, the Hawkeyes were shut out Thursday night in Arlington, Texas.
Cornerback Josh Jackson was left waiting in the green room at AT&T Stadium without hearing his name among the 32 first-rounders announced to a national TV audience.
Back home in a lounge chair in Ohio, offensive lineman James Daniels saw two other centers get picked as first-rounders. But his phone remained silent.
So instead, the two Hawkeyes will likely become second-round value picks in Friday night's portion of the draft. Rounds 2 and 3 will get under way at 6 p.m. CT, with five hours of coverage planned.
Speaking earlier this week at an I-Club function in West Des Moines, Ferentz expressed hope that both Daniels and Jackson would go in the first round. In fact, Ferentz and defensive coordinator Phil Parker were planning to join Jackson in Dallas on Thursday.
But he also reinforced that whether taken in the first round or not, performance will ultimately determine the proficiency of a player's NFL career.
"We’ll keep our fingers crossed (about the first round)," Ferentz said Tuesday. "It’d be wonderful if that happens. It’s not going to be the end of the world if they’re second-rounders.”
That's probably what each guy will be — Jackson the rangy, all-American cornerback; Daniels the high-upside lineman with flexibility to play center or guard. ESPN.com has both players among their top four "best available" picks entering Friday's second round.
Looking ahead to Day 2, the Cleveland Browns have two of the first three picks of the second round (Nos. 33, 35). Taking a home-grown blocker like Daniels to protect top pick Baker Mayfield could be a possibility. Or, with the No. 34 overall pick, the New York Giants could use a center to help block for new acquisition Saquon Barkley.
The Indianapolis Colts have the fourth and fifth picks in the second round (Nos. 36, 37), and they have a solid track record and relationship with the Hawkeye program. And they need a cornerback. Jackson could be a natural fit there.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at No. 38, need a cornerback after passing on one in the first round. And the Chicago Bears (at No. 39) have offensive line and defensive back among their many needs. Daniels and Jackson could both be possibilities to join the Monsters of the Midway.
So the wait for a Hawkeye to get picked Friday might not take long.
There's also a decent chance Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell's name will get called Friday night. He is projected as a mid-round prospect, probably in Rounds 3 through 5.
But as Thursday night's first round showed ... nothing is ever certain in the NFL draft.
Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistikow has covered sports for 23 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.
Iowa’s first-round picks under Kirk Ferentz
2015: Brandon Scherff (No. 5), Washington Redskins
2012: Riley Reiff (No. 23), Detroit Lions
2011: Adrian Clayborn (No. 20), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2010: Bryan Bulaga (No. 23), Green Bay Packers
2006: Chad Greenway (No. 17), Minnesota Vikings
2004: Robert Gallery (No. 2), Oakland Raiders
2003: Dallas Clark (No. 24), Indianapolis Colts