Iowa's Kaevon Merriweather, Seth Benson, Monte Pottebaum sign NFL Draft undrafted free agent deals

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

The 2023 NFL Draft is complete, but moves are far from done between teams and prospective prospects.

The undrafted free agent market is open and three former Hawkeyes, including notable Iowa defenders, have signed deals with NFL teams.

Safety Kaevon Merriweather (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and linebacker Seth Benson (Denver Broncos) have agreed to terms. Fullback Monte Pottebaum signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Iowa had four players drafted in the 2023 Draft: Lukas Van Ness (13th overall, Green Bay Packers), Jack Campbell (18th overall, Detroit Lions), Sam LaPorta (34th overall, Lions) and Riley Moss (83rd overall, Denver Broncos).

Merriweather, a Michigan native, saw action in every game over the last two seasons and started every game in 2022 for Iowa. He racked up a total of four interceptions, three of them coming in 2022, and nine passes defended in his career. He scored his lone career touchdown last season on a 30-yard fumble recovery against Rutgers. His play earned him All-American honors by the Associated Press, CBS Sports and Sporting News.

Beyond his play on the field, Merriweather's Iowa legacy will be characterized by his character. He was one of the central voices that helped galvanize Hawkeye players through the racial-disparities outcry in the summer of 2020. In 2021 he was recognized as the inaugural Duke Slater Golden Gavel winner, which is given to the Iowa player who is most cooperative with the media and exhibits integrity in all interactions. And this past season he served as team captain for the duration of the 2022 season.

Iowa's Seth Benson, left, and Kaevon Merriweather, right, were standouts as Hawkeyes. Now they'll try to make NFL rosters as undrafted free agents.

Similarly, Seth Benson was a notable leader throughout his Iowa career. The South Dakota native was a three-year starter and twice named to the team's player leadership council. Benson's trademark on the field was sound decision-making and sure tackling. He leaves Iowa with 254 career tackles and 13 tackles for loss.

Last season, Benson was a second-team All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media) with 91 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one interception. It was Benson's third consecutive season with an All-Big Ten distinction.

Pottebaum, of Larchwood, Iowa, was a three-year starting fullback for the Hawkeye offense.

Now, all three players will try to make enough an impression in rookie minicamps to earn training camp invites and ultimately, the 53-man roster or practice squad.