The tough 2006 campaign ate away at Scott Chandler. Even a hard-fought loss to defending national champion Texas in the Alamo Bowl left a sour taste in his mouth.
"It lingered for a couple of weeks," the Iowa Tight End said. "The last game seemed like a microcosm of the entire season - coming up short. Then, I let it go. I chose to focus on the positives in my Iowa career. We did some great things, like win a Big Ten Championship (‘04) and have two, 10-win seasons."
Chandler needed to clear his mind to concentrate on the NFL Draft April 28-29. In a selection void of many talented tight ends, the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Hawkeye has stood out in the off-season evaluation period. He participated in the Senior Bowl and the combine in Indianapolis.
"It's really an up and down process," Chandler said. "You have to focus on what you can control because there are so many variables out of your control. One week you hear you're going in the second round and the next week you're going in the fourth. It's completely out of your hands."
Chandler has been busy working out for teams on an individual basis. He traveled to Dallas for a meeting with the Cowboys last week.
About five teams have flown him in for workouts, Chandler said, while a few others have come to Iowa City to see what he can do. Chandler and his agent have decided not to release the names of the teams with which he has visited.
"We kind of want to keep teams guessing and not tip our hand," Chandler said. "Half of the teams don't even know what they want to do in the draft at this point. If one guy falls to them, it could throw everything off and help and hurt guys financially."
Chandler is hearing the same analysis of his abilities that he heard in college. The scouts like how he catches the ball and runs but are questioning his aptitude at blocking and his overall strength.
"I don't think the Iowa coaches would question those things, but they're still out there," Chandler said.
Chandler finished his Iowa career ranked second all-time among Hawkeye tight ends in receptions and yards. As a senior, he earned second-team all-Big Ten honors with 46 catches for 591 yards and six touchdowns.
Chandler realizes that he wouldn't be on the verge of being drafted had he not switched from wide receiver to tight end after his freshman season. He balked at the move, initially.
"I matured and saw that it would help the team and help me individually," Chandler said. "They're not looking to draft a lot of receivers that run a 4.78 40."
As a true freshman, Chandler ran at wide receiver with his brother Nathan starting at quarterback on a team that finished 10-3 and defeated Florida in the Outback Bowl. Nathan spent time in the Buffalo Bills camp after graduation.
"He hasn't really talked to me about it a lot," Scott said. "He's just said that I'm in a lot better position than he was because I'm going to get drafted. He's been very supportive."
Scott Chandler recently married and the uncertainty of the future has weighed on his bride.
"I moved here from Texas, so I've adapted to being away from home," he said. "She's never been away from Iowa and she's real close with her family. It's tough not knowing where we're going to end up from Tampa to Seattle, but she's handled it well."
Chandler is finishing his course work for graduation in May, he said. He's doing it in four years.
"It's something I always expected to do," he said. "You get the scholarship because you're expected to be a student as well as play football. If I didn't graduate, it would be a waste."
Chandler and his wife will travel to Dallas for the draft.
"I owe it to my parents to go there and share this with them," he said. "My family has invested a lot of time and energy in me."
NFL teams view Iowa's Scott Chandler as one of the top players at his position in the upcoming draft. The big question is where they'll move to select the tall Texan. HN.com Senior Writer Rob Howe spoke with Chandler recently and found out preparations have gone. Read all about it in this Premium NFL Draft Preview.