20 Jake Knott, Linebacker, Senior 6’3″ 252 pounds
Knott is an insanely productive linebacker who racked up over 300 tackles in his ISU career, which was sadly cut short after he tore his left shoulder in late October. Despite the fact that his 2012 season is cut short, Knott finished the year with 79 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles, giving him 10 for his career. Knott has excellent overall size at the linebacker position, and is also very solid in coverage. He is always making plays and always around the ball, and a leader for the Cyclones defensively. I love his potential to be a starter at the next level, and I think if he can show out athletically, he will be a third round pick or potentially higher. If he runs slow and heals slowly from his injury, he will probably still get drafted but it will be late. I think his production speaks for itself and he’s shown that he can pile up tackles and be a good presence in some team’s locker room.
47 A.J. Klein, Linebacker, Senior 6’2″ 248 pounds
Klein, like his ultra-productive teammate Jake Knott, has racked up over 300 career tackles and is one of the top senior linebackers in the entire group of 2013 prospects. Klein has excellent size and is a thumper in the middle, but he’s also a pretty good athlete. He picked off a pass and took it 87 yards for a touchdown early in the season against Baylor, and even in Knott’s absence, he has been spectacular throughout his career. In fact, speaking of pick-sixes, Klein has picked off five passes in his career, and all but one of those picks has gone back for a touchdown. The 2011 co-defensive player of the year in the Big 12 has had 111 and 117 tackles in the last two seasons, and has really proven that he can be a starting inside linebacker at the NFL level with range, strength, and sure tackling ability. This is a really solid inside linebacker prospect who should go within the first three rounds.
24 Durrell Givens, Safety, Senior 6’0″ 210 pounds
Big safety prospect who is having a very sound senior campaign. Through 11 games, he has 77 tackles, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles. He has been a very valuable part of the Iowa State defense in 2012, and next year could be a valuable part of some NFL team’s defense. I think NFL teams will really have to do some digging on this kid since he’s only got one year of starting at Iowa State, but he may be worth a look at camp and if he blows up his pro day, definitely a potential draftable player.
10 Jacques Washington, Safety, Junior 6’1″ 208 pounds
Washington was considered one of the top prospects on Iowa State’s roster heading into the season, and he has not disappointed. In his junior season, he has 74 tackles and three interceptions after a breakout sophomore year where he finished with 90 tackles and eight broken up passes. The former running back has added almost 30 pounds since he got to Iowa State, and you have to love the aggressive style with which he plays. I think he’ll return to campus for one more season, but this is definitely a kid worth watching as we progress to draft season.
19 Josh Lenz, Wide Receiver, Senior 6’0″ 200 pounds
Lenz hasn’t been overly productive because of the nature of Iowa State’s offense, but I think he has some upside as an NFL player. He has ability to make big plays down the field and in the red zone, and could have some upside as a slot receiver in the NFL. He has five touchdowns as a senior with two games to play, and I think his ability to break tackles and contribute on special teams could get him a look on an NFL roster.