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Three ex-Iowa Hawkeyes Ink Free-Agent Deals; Four Drafted

Scott DochtermanCorrespondent IApril 27, 2009

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01:  Shonn Green #23 of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Three former Iowa players signed free-agent deals with NFL teams following the draft Sunday night.

Former Iowa center Rob Bruggeman from Cedar Rapids Washington Prep signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Former Iowa defensive tackle Matt Kroul, who hails from Mount Vernon, signed with the New York Jets.

Former Iowa receiver and Ankeny native Andy Brodell signed a free-agent deal with Green Bay.

Former Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King, a Burlington native, was unsigned as of Sunday evening but his agent was negotiating a contract.

Here’s the story on the players who were drafted Sunday:

Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene sat unwanted and unloved through the first two rounds of the NFL draft Saturday.

Sunday morning, Greene felt the love in record time.

Greene, 23, was selected by the New York Jets with the first pick in the third round Sunday, No. 65 overall. The Jets traded up 11 spots with the Detroit Lions to pick Greene and gave up their third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to get him.

Jets Coach Rex Ryan told ESPN that Greene is a “rare talent.”

“He was the best player that was on our board,” Jets Coach Rex Ryan said. “In our opinion, it wasn’t close.

“He’s a big, powerful running back. We want to have a little ground and pound.”

Greene was one of four Iowa players drafted Sunday. Former Iowa cornerback Bradley Fletcher went one pick after Greene to St. Louis (66).

Denver drafted Iowa guard Seth Olsen in the fourth round (132 overall) and Oakland traded up to get Myers in the sixth round (202).

Greene, 23, finished with 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, both school records at Iowa. He ran for at least 100 yards in all 13 Iowa games last season.

Greene won the Doak Walker Award, which annually is given to college football’s best running back. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American.

Greene was the fifth running back drafted this weekend. Greene will compete with Jets veteran Thomas Jones and playmaker Leon Washington for time at running back. Greene was the Jets’ second pick in the draft behind USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

“It was Shonn and then it was a pretty precipitous jump from there,” Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum told reporters. “It was the gulf between him and the rest of the guys that made it a pretty easy decision.”

“The game of football is a physical sport. That’s why I enjoy it so much,” Greene told reporters. “I love contact. It’s violent, it’s quick, it’s fast. That’s just the nature of my game, how I like to play the game.”

Fletcher, 22, registered 60 tackles and three interceptions last year and was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection.

“He played behind a pretty good (player) two years ago (Charles Godfrey), and he actually started four games in there,” Rams Coach Steve Spagnuolo told reporters. And he has started games all the way through.

He started games as a sophomore. He started them as a junior. And then he surfaced this year. It’s just like Billy (Devaney, the Rams’ general manager) said, when you put on the tape, he fits well for what we’re going to ask those guys to do. That was the biggest thing.”

“I feel that I have my best football ahead of me right now, and I’m looking forward to showing that on the field,” Fletcher said.

Olsen, 23, was a first-team all-Big Ten guard last fall. He told reporters his versatility will help him compete for a spot along Denver’s offensive line.

“I feel like I can play guard and tackle, and who knows, maybe center as well,” Olsen said. “I haven’t had any snaps there but am willing to give it a shot.”

The Raiders moved up in the sixth round to grab Myers, 23. The Raiders surrendered this year’s seventh-round pick and next year’s sixth-round pick to snag Iowa’s tight end.

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