You may have seen my story on Sunday about Mike Iupati’s NFL draft prospects. I also wanted to pass along some additional comments and thoughts on one of the most decorated players in Idaho football history. Who knows where he’ll go, but one possible hint: UI coach Robb Akey said the 49ers have called him three times about Iupati. Take that for what it’s worth.
Keep reading for more on Iupati and another Vandal hoping to land in the NFL, receiver Max Komar, on the eve of the draft.
Just to give a sense of the buzz Iupati is generating, I was asked to talk about the offensive lineman on a Pittsburgh radio station earlier this week. The host immediately said he’s heard a scout compare Iupati to another pretty good guard — Steve Hutchinson, formerly of the Seahawks who got a $49 million deal from Minnesota. It might hard for Iupati to live up to so much hype, but there aren’t many negatives with the All-American.
The question is, should Iupati stay at guard in the pros or be converted to tackle? This didn’t make it into my story, but offensive line coach Dan Finn has a pretty strong opinion on the subject. “I think he’s a natural guard,” Finn said. “I think it’s a natural spot. I tell people all the time, ‘I think he’s got great feet.’ But he’s such a big, wide body inside, I think it’s just a natural fit for him. That’s kind of what I’ve told scouts.”
Here’s more from Iupati:
On the intense process of visiting teams before the draft: “You can only do it once, so you might as well as enjoy it.”
On whether he thinks he’ll be a first-rounder: “Yeah, it is the feeling. I mean, I don’t know. I have no idea what team. I’ve visited different teams. They have the same impression, but I can’t tell where I’m going.”
On the sense he’s gotten from teams: “They like what they see from me as a guard. They know I was a great guard. They’re going to bring me in as a guard (and go from there.”
Max Komar is in a much different spot than Iupati. Realistically, the slot receiver will probably be a free-agent pickup once the draft ends. Here are some thoughts from him.
On what he’s expecting: “I’m just hoping to get a free agent look. Me and my agent, we’ve talked to quite a few teams. Everyone was all indicating free agent type of stuff, but you never know. Just depending on how the draft goes, I could be picked up in the seventh round. Right now, realistically, we’re looking free agent.”
On making a quick move: “The whole free agent (frenzy), it happens right after the seventh round, within the hour. And it’s really hectic too because pretty much you don’t know who’s going to call you.”