Breaking down how former Iowa Hawkeyes fared in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season
While there was no University of Iowa football action to watch this weekend, a slew of former Hawkeyes left their imprints on Week 1 of the NFL season.
Currently, there are 29 former Hawkeyes on active rosters — spread across 18 different NFL teams. Recent names blend with those from earlier in Kirk Ferentz's tenure to create a nice pool of Iowa players showing out on Sundays. (and Mondays too).
With that, here is the breakdown. Names are listed in alphabetical order.
C.J. Beathard (San Francisco 49ers): The former Iowa quarterback was inactive for Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Although Jimmy Garoppolo took plenty of heat for the Cardinals debacle, Beathard is still firmly planted behind him and backup Nick Mullens.
Austin Blythe (Los Angeles Rams): The former Iowa offensive lineman has found a home in L.A. Blythe, entering his second season as a Rams starter, played all 73 offensive snaps in Sunday's 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Ike Boettger (Buffalo Bills): The former Iowa offensive lineman was inactive for Buffalo’s 27-17 win over the New York Jets.
Bryan Bulaga (Los Angeles Chargers): Despite entering Sunday questionable with a shoulder injury, Bulaga suited up, started and did well. Bulaga yielded only two pressures on quarterback Tyrod Taylor, along with no hits, no sacks and no penalties in Los Angeles' 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Adrian Clayborn (Cleveland Browns): Corralling Lamar Jackson is not a fun assignment for any defense, but Clayborn left his mark on Sunday's 38-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The former Iowa defensive lineman had two tackles, two tackles for loss (including a sack) and a quarterback hurry.
James Daniels (Chicago Bears): Postgame praise poured in for the former Iowa offensive lineman after Daniels thrived at left guard in Chicago's 27-23 comeback win over the Detroit Lions.
Mike Daniels (Cincinnati Bengals): Daniels got the start at defensive tackle for the injured Geno Atkins. The former Iowa standout racked up two total tackles (one solo) in Cincinnati's 16-13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Carl Davis (Jacksonville Jaguars): Davis remains suspended for violating the NFL's PED policy. Sunday's 24-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts was the first of four games Davis will sit.
A.J. Epenesa (Buffalo Bills): The rookie defensive end was inactive for Buffalo's 27-17 win over the New York Jets.
Noah Fant (Denver Broncos): The former Iowa tight end was the Hawkeye star of Week 1 Monday Night Football. Fant led Denver with 81 receiving yards on five catches, including a touchdown, as the Broncos fell to the Tennessee Titans on a last-second field goal. Strangely, though, Fant had zero receiving yards in the second half.
T.J. Hockenson (Detroit Lions): Another name Iowa fans love to search for, Hockenson had a nice Sunday in a losing effort. The former Hawkeyes tight end had five catches for 56 yards and touchdown in Detroit's 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Amani Hooker (Tennessee Titans): Hooker played 11 defensive snaps (19%) and 18 special teams snaps (75%) in the Titans' 16-13 win over the Denver Broncos. He finished with one tackle.
Anthony Hitchens (Kansas City Chiefs): Hitchens kicked off the week's games for former Hawkeyes, racking up seven tackles in last Thursday's 34-20 win over the Houston Texans.
Micah Hyde (Buffalo Bills): The former Iowa safety racked up four tackles, two solo, in Buffalo's 27-17 win over the New York Jets.
Josh Jackson (Green Bay Packers): The former Iowa cornerback had a lot of hype entering Green Bay, but much of that has faded. Jackson played only two snaps in the Packers' 43-34 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Josey Jewell (Denver Broncos): The former Iowa All-American linebacker has kept on rolling in Denver. Now starting on defense, Jewell piled up eight tackles (five solo) in Denver's 16-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Jaleel Johnson (Minnesota Vikings): Johnson played 57 of 78 defensive snaps at defensive tackle in Minnesota's 43-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He had four tackles (three solo).
Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers): The former Iowa cornerback had four tackles, three solo, in the Chargers' 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Christian Kirksey (Green Bay Packers): After signing a two-year, $16 million contract with Green Bay in March, Kirksey made his Packers' debut Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. The former Iowa linebacker had a team-high 12 tackles in Green Bay's 43-36 win.
George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers): Hardly anything Kittle does these days is quiet, but the former Iowa tight end was largely halted due to injury in the 49ers' 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Kittle had four catches for 44 yards and a 9-yard rush. He also suffered a sprained knee that has him questionable for Week 2 against the New York Jets.
Casey Kreiter (New York Giants): Kreiter made his New York debut at long snapper in the Giants' 26-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night.
Anthony Nelson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Nelson played three defensive snaps in Sunday's 34-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Matt Nelson (Detroit Lions): Nelson converted from defensive line to offensive line after leaving Iowa. He then made the Lions' 53-man roster out of camp. Nelson, though, played sparingly Sunday, accumulating two offensive snaps and six special teams snaps in Detroit's 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Ben Niemann (Kansas City Chiefs): The former undrafted free agent and Iowa linebacker played 36 snaps, or 61%, at linebacker in the Chiefs' 34-20 win over the Houston Texans. Niemann was the only Kansas City linebacker to play more than half of the game's snaps.
Michael Ojemudia (Denver Broncos): The rookie cornerback had an up-and-down NFL debut. Called into extensive action against the Tennessee Titans, Ojemudia had two tackles and a pass defended — as well as a nice interception that was wiped out by a penalty. Ojemudia also had an untimely pass interference call that kept the Titans moving on their eventual game-winning drive. Overall though, the talk coming out of Denver was positive regarding Ojemudia.
Riley Reiff (Minnesota Vikings): Reiff played all 52 offensive snaps at left tackle in the Vikings' 43-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Reiff did a solid job on Green Bay linebacker Preston Smith.
Brandon Scherff (Washington Football Team): A staple of NFL consistency, Scherff played all 70 snaps in Washington's 27-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Iowa offensive lineman star was recently named one of Washington's five 2020 captains.
Geno Stone (Baltimore Ravens): The former Iowa safety who was drafted this past April was inactive for Baltimore’s season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns.
Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): The crown jewel of iowa's 2020 NFL Draft prospects, Wirfs started at right tackle in Tampa Bay's 34-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints. There were some bumpy moments, but Wirfs largely held his own against vaunted defensive end Cam Jordan (1 TFL, 1 QB hit).
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.