That appears to fit Brandon Myers as the NFL Draft kicks off this weekend. Hawkeye tight ends love this time of year.
In the previous nine drafts, five Iowa players from that position have heard their names called during the selection process. By comparison, the only spot with more players taken in that time frame was offense line (7), while it was equaled at defensive back and defensive line with five each.
“Iowa is known for (tight ends) and it starts with the head coach (Kirk Ferentz),” Myers said. “He definitely knows what he’s going. He told me Day 1 that if I wanted to see the field I would have to learn how to block and be physical. That’s Iowa football, Big Ten football.
“There has been a lot of success in previous years with tight ends. I would definitely be honored to keep that going.”
Conference coaches named Myers their first-team all-league tight end after the 2008 season. He finished his senior campaign with 34 receptions for 441 yards and a team-best four touchdowns.
Despite his numbers and accolades, the NFL Combine and all the postseason all-star games passed on Myers attending their functions. Twenty one tight ends received invites from the combine.
“I was definitely disappointed,” Myers said. “The best players are always at the combine and it was a letdown. I just felt like I had to get back to work and not worry about that. It’s stuff that you can’t control. It definitely was tough to watch, but I’m just excited for this weekend and hopefully good things happen.”
Myers has used the snubs as motivation.
“It showed me that I wasn’t among the Top 20 tight ends,” he said. “So, you have to go back to what you know best, work hard and hopefully get an opportunity somewhere.
“It’s been a good process. It’s been kind of long. I’ve just been staying in Iowa City, for the most part, working out with the guys. You hear some things one day and then you hear some things the others, so it’s just kind of like a roller coaster. You just kind of take it all in stride.”
Teams have shown interest in Myers. He’s been flown into Chicago, Cincinnati, Oakland, Houston, and Seattle for visits. The Bears and Jets also have come to Iowa City to work him out personally.
Myers hasn’t allowed those trips to lead him into making predictions.
“I was talking to a former player. We were talking about visits and stuff like that,” Myers said. “He went on some, too, and it just happened to be that he didn’t get drafted by any of the teams that he visited. He got drafted by a team that didn’t even talk to him.
“The advice has been not to worry about it. Everything is already taken care of, the game film, the meetings, the pro day. Everything is set in stone. Now it’s just up to the team to pick you.”
Teams have told Myers that they like him because “Iowa is one of the few teams that’s not in the spread. We run a zone-blocking scheme, which a lot of the teams in the NFL run.”
Myers has experience in being overlooked and underappreciated. Coming out of Prairie City-Monroe High, he was headed to Northern Iowa until the Hawkeyes came up with a last-minute scholarship offer.
“I went to a small school so I never really was a big-time recruit,” Myers said. “I always knew that I could play. It’s just a matter of knowing the system, the fundamentals and technique, which Coach Ferentz definitely emphasizes. It just takes time.
“The first few years in college it wasn’t easy not playing. It’s what way with everybody. You just have to trust the coaches and trust that they know what they’re doing. I’ve been blessed. I’ve been able to stay healthy and have a great coaching staff around me.”
The wait is almost over for Myers. Be it by draft or free agency, the odds are heavily in his favor to be in an NFL camp.
“I definitely don’t expect to hear my name called on Saturday or, who knows, even on Sunday,” Myers said. “I’m probably just going to go home and hang out with some friends and family and maybe do some golfing. We’ll see where it takes me.”