Why 'rookie from Iowa' carries some extra NFL clout

Chad Leistikow

Former Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis could be chosen in the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft. The draft runs April 30 through May 2 in Chicago.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – There's a four-letter word that might help guys such as Quinton Alston and Louis Trinca-Pasat get their foot inside some NFL doors.


The Hawkeyes' 17th-year coach, Kirk Ferentz, has a sterling reputation for producing NFL-ready talent. It's no wonder that Monday's Pro Day drew scouts from almost every NFL team to watch performances from outgoing Hawkeyes.

"Any Iowa guy … they're kind of like a second-year guy in the league already," said Louis Trinca-Pasat, an undersized defensive tackle (6-foot-1, 290 pounds) who may or may not be picked during the seven-round NFL Draft that runs April 30-May 2. "We're taught technique here. We're really disciplined. You don't get a lot of that from any other programs."

Although some fans cringe about the "developmental" label Ferentz gives his program, Alston, a linebacker hoping to get a chance as an undrafted free agent, thinks that helps his cause.

"Football IQ is one of the highest things here that we want to build on," Alston said. "It's a developmental organization. We just stress the basic techniques, each and every day.

"I think that gives us a little bit more of a boost."

Davis waiting: Carl Davis will get drafted. The interior defensive lineman (6-5, 320) is projected as high as a late first-round pick. He said if he gets invited to Chicago, he'll attend the NFL Draft.

Scouts like Davis' ability to consume blockers, but he needs to improve his pass rush and consistency.

"This is just the first step," said Davis, who has workouts scheduled with the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills. His agent is Brian Mackler. "Coach Ferentz told me I've just scratched the surface of what I can be. I really do believe that."

Donnal improving: Andrew Donnal is prepared to play anywhere on the offensive line — right, left, guard, tackle — to get an NFL shot. He said Monday's Pro Day went well. He improved his bench press by six repetitions over his 17 at the NFL Combine.

Donnal will visit the Denver Broncos and plans to be with family in Ohio during the draft. He's pegged to go in the later rounds.

"I've heard a lot of good things from my agent and coaches that have come to visit," said Donnal, who measured 6-6 and 313 pounds. He is represented by Jack Bechta. "They seem to be pretty happy with what I've done."