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Gettis shines at NFL Combine

[ 3 ] March 1, 2012 |

Riley Reiff might prove the draft gurus right by becoming a better NFL offensive lineman than his former Iowa teammate Adam Gettis.

For at least one day, Gettis outshined the more celebrated Reiff.

Gettis proved to be one of the most athletic offensive linemen to attend Saturday’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

In addition to recording one of the best vertical leaps among offensive lineman at 31.5 inches, Gettis’ 10-yard split of 1.65 seconds also was the best among the offensive linemen. And his times of 4.91 and 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash were among the fastest for the offensive linemen.

“It was fun,” Gettis said in a phone interview earlier this week from Arizona, where he training for the upcoming NFL draft in April. “I felt fast for the first time in a long time.”

Combine those numbers with Gettis being a former Iowa offensive lineman who made second-team all-Big Ten as a senior and it’s fair to say that he is gaining steam with the NFL draft approaching.

His situation is nothing like Reiff’s status as a likely first-round pick, but Gettis has served notice that he is worth paying attention to thanks to the combine.

“You can see that he’s an athlete and that he’s obviously put in a lot of work,” said Wes Bunting, who is the director of college scouting for the National Football Post. “He’s a guy that’s handled his athleticism well while putting on the weight.”

Those are sexy numbers for a guard, as sexy as they can be, I guess. And at the same time, I think it gave him a chance. If he would have went there and ran 5.3, I don’t think he would have gave himself a chance no matter what he did on tape.”

Gettis likely was headed toward free agency until he shined at the combine. Bunting now projects him to be a late-round pick by a team that uses a zone blocking scheme similar to what Iowa uses under Kirk Ferentz.

Gettis is more concerned about getting a chance than getting caught up in where he might go in the draft.

“I just want to keep playing the game,” Gettis said. “I’m just looking for the opportunity to keep on playing.”

Performing well at the combine hardly guarantees that success will carry to the field. It’s just one piece to a complex puzzle.

Gettis also has his share of critics that question his size, which is 6-foot-2, 293-pounds, and consider him small for an NFL offensive guard or center.

“Oh, yeah, definitely, it’s fair to say (I’m undersized.),” Gettis said. “I’ve been one of the smallest guys since I made it to college, so I’m used to it.

“I use it to my advantage. I use my technique a little bit more.”

Unlike Reiff, who made first-team all-Big Ten as a junior this past season, Gettis was not a marquee player in college. Gettis started just 16 games at Iowa, with all but three of his starts coming during this past season.

Gettis was a developmental player at Iowa. He arrived on campus as a true freshman in 2007 weighing about 220 pounds and with little notice as a two-star recruit from the Chicago area.

But he also came with a chip on his shoulder and was determined to take advantage of Iowa’s success with developing quality offensive linemen.

Gettis praised Ferentz, Iowa assistant coach Reese Morgan and strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle for providing the right environment to excel.

Morgan coached the Iowa offensive line for the past nine seasons before recently switching to defensive line coach.

“I don’t think I could have done it anywhere else,” Gettis said. “We have a great strength program. We have one of the best coaches in coach Ferentz in the nation. I think he is the best.

“And we had one of the best line coaches in coach Morgan. You can’t go wrong with that combination.”

NFL scouts and executives feel the same way about the feeder system at Iowa.

“If you’ve got a guy graded two rounds ahead of him they’re not going to take Gettis over that guy,” Bunting said of NFL teams. “But at the same time if you’ve got two guys with very similar grades and similar physical make-ups from a team like Wisconsin or Iowa, you tend to side with those guys as opposed to the Mount Unions of the world or even the Arizonas, the teams that don’t send a ton of offensive lineman to the NFL.”

The reputation of the Iowa program will benefit greatly if Gettis and Reiff shine at the next level.

Reiff is the latest in a long line of offensive linemen to flourish under Ferentz at Iowa.

Gettis is harder to project because he was a work-in-progress throughout college. His performance at the combine, however, showed that his work is paying off.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com


Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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