NFL Network, CBS Sports high on Lukas Van Ness entering 2023 NFL Combine

The Lukas Van Ness hype is reaching new heights as the 2023 NFL Combine gets set to take center stage!

A featured player in nearly every mock draft, Van Ness is a player the NFL draft community has really come around on. Nicknamed “Hercules” and compared to Cocaine Bear by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, the Iowa defensive lineman’s athletic traits and raw potential have trumped his lack of starting experience and production in the eyes of many.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah is the latest to extol praise on Van Ness, ranking the Barrington, Ill., native 18th on his recent top-50 prospect rankings.

Van Ness is a powerful defensive lineman with the versatility to stand up on the edge or slide inside and play over the guard. He is excellent at collapsing the pocket with his bull rush, getting his hands inside and driving opponents back with ease. He flashes a chop move and a rip move, but needs to develop a more diverse repertoire.

Against the run, he has very strong hands to stack blocks on the front side and his effort/speed combination helps him make plays from the back side. For some reason, he didn’t start at Iowa. That doesn’t make any sense. Overall, Van Ness has ideal traits, and his best football is ahead of him. – Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network.

If you’ve been following the draft process so far, you’d know that the former longtime NFL scout has been a fan of Van Ness for a while. Jeremiah mocked the Iowa pass rusher in the top-10 all the way back in January! Jeremiah was joined by CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson, who placed Van ness even higher on his big board at No. 15.

Van Ness didn’t start a game for Iowa last season and there are no true “wow” moments on tape, like the ones you’ll find when watching, say, Tyree Wilson. But Van Ness, like Drake Jackson and George Karlaftis a year ago, looks the part. He has the body type that makes NFL defensive line coaches sit up in their chairs, and while he weighs 275 pounds now, he can add another 10-15 pounds to his frame. He’s a good athlete, plays with both power and twitch and he’s going to be a better pro than college player. – Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports.

As you can tell, the top brass of the draft world have not been shy about their lofty projections of Van Ness at all! Besides Jeremiah and Wilson, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports slotted Van Ness in the top 10 back in mid-January as well. Todd McShay recently mocked him as a top-20 pick this month as well!

With the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine set for this week, expect to hear even more chatter about Lukas Van Ness!


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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire