Below are the notable Iowa State Cyclones eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite being one of the bottom-half teams of the conference over the years, the Iowa State Cyclones have a chance to heavily improve their standing in 2017. This is largely due to returning starters at quarterback in Jacob Park and at wide receiver in Allen Lazard. If their offense can put up the numbers it did towards the end of the 2016 season, the Cyclones may be a sneaky team to watch in the Big 12.
Quarterback Jacob Park – 6040, 205 – Redshirt Junior
At 6’4, 205, Jacob Park has ideal size at the position and athleticism for the position. In addition, he has the arm strength to threaten defenses down the field. His ball placement consistency is shaky, but his ability to make throws when the play breaks down is valuable, especially for a big quarterback like himself. The problems I had with Park stem from his awkward delivery and wind up.
I’m usually not too critical of this, but it is reminiscent of Kevin Hogan at Stanford. On some plays, I am not sure if he is throwing a javelin or a football, but at this level nonetheless, he has shown the ability to make big throws. He has the 2017 season to serve as the full-time starter at quarterback, and with an improved season, there will be talks of his traits translating to the next level.
Wide Receiver Allen Lazard – 6050, 223 – Senior
Undoubtedly the best prospect for the Cyclones is wide receiver Allen Lazard. Whether it is extending for a one-handed grab on a fade route or just overwhelming cornerbacks with his size and strength, Lazard may be the best contested catcher in the nation. An underrated trait of his game is his cerebral ability to find the open area. Whether playing against Zone or Off-man, he understands how to get open.
In situations against Press, he does not need to be open because all the quarterback needs to do is to give him a chance on a jump ball. The main obstacle Lazard is going to have to deal with at the next level is if he can separate vertically against NFL cornerbacks. He can move pretty well for someone his size, but there is no doubt he wins with strength and physicality rather than speed.
Linebacker Willie Harvey – 6000, 225 – Redshirt Junior
Safety Kamari Cotton-Moya – 6010, 200 – Redshirt Senior
All of the hype around Iowa State is centered around the offense, but Kamari Cotton-Moya has a legitimate case to be one of the Big 12’s best safety prospects heading into the 2017 season. He can play in the box or over the top with his combination of physicality and instincts.
Cotton-Moya is today’s prototypical safety who can play either the free or strong spot, and with his ball skills and fundamentals in run support, scouts are going to value his skill set. However, he does run into problems with overall athleticism and an injury history that some may give pause to.