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Former Iowa defensive end Anthony Nelson departed after his red-shirt junior year and is projected as high as the second round in the NFL Draft. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

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Anthony Nelson had to wait a little longer than his Hawkeye teammates. But his professional home is now solidified. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected the former Iowa defensive end Saturday in the fourth round of the NFL Draft in Nashville. Nelson is the third Hawkeye off the board, following T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant's selections. 

Somewhere on the draft's third day was Nelson's projected landing spot. The 6-foot-7, 271 pound defensive end had 45 tackles, 13.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks before forgoing his senior season.  

Nelson said last month that his NFL role will largely be based on fit. 

“I can lose 10 pounds and stand up, or I can gain 10 pounds and play the ‘4’ or ‘5’ (technique),” Nelson said. “My ability to do it on three downs is one of those things that separate me from a lot of guys in this class.”

Some were surprised to see Nelson declare early. He'll look to back up his decision in the coming months. 

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 msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

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