ESPN’s Todd McShay cements Lukas Van Ness as first rounder in post-combine rankings
The hype was growing around Iowa Hawkeyes star Lukas Van Ness prior to the NFL Combine. After the show that he put on in front of NFL teams and scouts, it may continue to grow as he dominated with his performance.
One of five Hawkeyes that took part in the combine, Van Ness has all but cemented his status as a first round pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL draft. His numbers tested just as good, if not better, than they needed to for a first rounder.
Van Ness looked the part, acted the part, and, if he can do that, he likely is the part. That is largely why he has been climbing up the NFL prospect rankings and staying put in the first half of NFL mock drafts everywhere.
Here is where Van Ness is predicted to land and where he is ranked overall from ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.
Mock draft landing spot
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Mock draft selection: No. 18 to the Detroit Lions
We already gave the Lions a corner, so a mini-run at the position won’t affect them. They still need defensive support, so give me Van Ness. While he never started a game at Iowa, he played a lot for the Hawkeyes, averaging 450 snaps per season over two years. And Van Ness turned that into seven sacks in each campaign. Add that production to an edge rush group that already includes 2022 picks Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, and the Lions could be set to improve on the 39 sacks they generated in 2022 (tied for 18th).
It was no surprise when Van Ness tested well in Indianapolis. He has the quickness, power and versatility to dominate in the NFL. – McShay, ESPN.
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Prospect ranking: No. 11 overall
HT: 6-5 | WT: 272
Grade: 92 | Prev. rank: 22
Van Ness followed up his seven-sack 2021 season with seven more in 2022, along with 31 pressures, 13.5 tackles for loss and 10 run stops over 13 games. He is an excellent pass-rusher who continues to improve with more game experience — he has only 27 career games and has never started. Van Ness has the length, quickness and power to make a difference at the next level, and he can play inside or outside. – McShay, ESPN
NFL Combine results
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40-yard dash: 4.58
10-yard split: 1.64
Vertical jump: 31″
Broad jump: 9’10”
3-cone drill: 7.02
20-yard shuttle: 4.32
Bench press: 17 reps
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Up next for Lukas Van Ness, should he choose to partake in it, is Iowa’s Pro Day which will take place on March 20. It will likely be up to Van Ness what he wants to do.
There could be teams that ask him to perform position-specific drills and see his traits as a defensive lineman or ask him to test again entirely, although that is very unlikely given his outstanding NFL Combine.
Following that, the wait is on for the NFL draft in Kansas City. The draft begins on Thursday, April 27 and Van Ness won’t have to wait very long to hear his name called in the first round.
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