Shaun Beyer looking to continue Iowa-to-NFL tight end pipeline
Cedar Rapids native could be 12th tight end drafted in Ferentz era
By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – When the NFL Draft rolls around at the end of April, Shaun Beyer hopes to carry on the Iowa-to-NFL tight end pipeline.
The Cedar Rapids native, along with several other former Hawkeyes and head coach Kirk Ferentz, met with the media Monday after the team’s annual Pro Day event.
Under Ferentz, 11 tight ends have been selected in the NFL Draft, and many others have gotten chances as free agents.
Most recently, Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson were first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions, respectively.
“I think it’s just the way that we’re coached here,” Beyer said. “In both the run and the pass game we’re just known for developing tight ends. It’s just what we do here.”
The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Beyer does not have the same statistics has guys like Fant and Hockenson.
Beyer played in 35 games during his Hawkeye career but only recorded 18 receptions for 275 yards and one touchdown and never had more than 37 receiving yards in a game.
A big reason Beyer doesn’t have gaudy statistics is that he sat behind Fant, Hockenson and George Kittle for much of his career while seeing action mostly on special teams as a freshman and sophomore.
“It’s really not about what school you go to or what stats you have,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “It’s about how you play football. Most smart NFL people know that. These guys have had plenty of opportunity to play on film against good competition. That’s one thing about the Big Ten. You’re playing good defensive players week in and week out. They’ve had a chance to compete against excellent players during their career and they certainly did a good job today.”
However, Beyer was a multi-sport athlete as a prep at Cedar Rapids Kennedy and showed glimpses of his athleticism during his Iowa career.
Perhaps Beyer’s most memorable play as a Hawkeye was a 22-yard, one-handed catch against Nebraska during the 2020 season that kept and Iowa drive alive.
“It was a nice play, spark play,” Beyer said. “I think it’s definitely a benefit to me and my athleticism.”
Ferentz said he thinks Beyer has a good chance to make it in the NFL because he has all the skills that teams look for, and the game has evolved in a way in which tight ends are used less frequently than they traditionally have been.
“In the NFL, they’re looking for guys that can play inline,” Ferentz said. “Most teams aren’t going to keep three guys, so if you can play on special teams and show that you can block, you’re willing to block, that gives you an opportunity to get in the door and then maybe stay. Then you can continue to develop. I think Shaun took a big step this year from last year. I think he’s still got a lot more growth in front of him.”
Iowa’s first day of spring practice is March 30.