How Hawkeyes Johnson, Beathard, King fared at Senior Bowl
Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson delivered the strongest showing of three former Iowa football players that took part in Senior Bowl activities that concluded this past weekend in Mobile, Ala.
Johnson exhibited a combination of speed and power while leaving a positive impression on NFL scouts.
Meanwhile, quarterback C.J. Beathard and cornerback Desmond King seemed to come away from the week with mixed reviews.
All three ex-Hawkeyes, plus many others, will have more chances to impress pro scouts. Iowa will host a pro day between now and the April 27-29 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, and the annual NFL Scouting Combine is Feb. 28-March 6 in Indianapolis.
Here is breakdown of what folks were saying about the trio of Johnson, Beathard and King, which played for the North team in a 16-15 loss to the South:
Height, weight: 6-foot-2 7/8ths, 309 pounds
During practices: Johnson made his biggest splash with his speed, of all things. He delivered the top speed (18.5 mph and 19 mph) among defensive tackles on Days 1 and 2 of practice. Pro Football Weekly after his first practice described Johnson as a "wrecking ball, from his dominating in one-on-one drills to factoring in the day’s biggest collision, when he knocked back 5-10, 220-pound Michigan RB De'Veon Smith early in team drills."
During the game: He was credited with three tackles in the game and delivered one hard hit on South quarterback Davis Webb of California. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fourth-best defender overall after a disruptive performance.
The big takeaway: Johnson probably made himself quite a bit of money last week. CBS Sports, as of Friday, projected him as a third- or fourth-round pick.
QB C.J. Beathard
Height, weight: 6-2 5/8, 219
During practices: The week started with ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay giving Beathard a vote of confidence. He said Beathard’s "injury-riddled receiving corps did him no favors (at Iowa). He could wind up being the mid-to-late-round gem from this class. He will likely land in a low-pressure situation with the time to sit back, learn and develop."
During the game: Beathard, still not 100 percent after pulling his hamstring in the Outback Bowl, was limited to 1-for-2 passing for 4 yards in backup action behind starter Nate Peterman of Pittsburgh. Beathard looked good to start, scrambling for 12 yards (and even successfully sliding) for a first down. He also showed nice arm strength on a 37-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones that was called back by an offensive-line penalty. But he got little pass protection and fumbled twice under pressure (neither were lost).
The takeaway: Beathard wasn’t put in a very good position to succeed in Saturday's game. He’ll still have further opportunities to show what he can do when healthier. Beathard will be impressive in individual interviews at the combine, so his NFL Draft journey is just beginning.
CB Desmond King
Height, weight: 5-10, 206
During practices: Speed has been the biggest pre-draft question mark for King, and he gave an answer mid-week by being clocked as the fastest player overall in Thursday’s practices (20.5 mph). He did have some shaky moments in one-on-one coverage, though, leading to talk about him possibly becoming a safety at the next level. King did intercept Beathard once during practice last week.
During the game: King was challenged through the air twice by Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs, and both throws ended up in first downs.
The takeaway: Opinions on King are pretty wide-ranging. Pro Football Focus’ first-round projections have him going No. 15 overall to the Indianapolis Colts, while an NFL.com projection has him going No. 50. The 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner could really help his cause by posting a fast 40-yard dash time at the combine, but he’s almost assuredly a first- or second-rounder.