Iowa State undrafted free agent tracker: Where did former Cyclones land after the draft?

Former Iowa State long snapper Steve Wirtel warms up against Akron on Sept. 16, 2017. Iowa State defeated Akron 41-14.

Zane Douglas

Editor’s note: This article will be updated as more undrafted free agent signings become official.

Iowa State had a few players that could’ve come off the board throughout the three days and seven rounds of the NFL Draft, but none of them were enticing enough for a team to snatch up with a draft pick.

Lucky for them, NFL teams immediately began the process of scouring the crowded field of undrafted free agents, with five former Cyclones signing contracts with NFL teams.

Steve Wirtel: Detroit Lions

With probably the highest chance of being drafted, Steve Wirtel just needed to beat out fellow long snapper Blake Ferguson of LSU to potentially be a selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

This didn’t happen and Ferguson remained the only long snapper to be drafted as no one picked up Wirtel, despite Ferguson going in round six.

Wirtel made his way onto a team immediately however, being the first Cyclone signed after the draft with a deal with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions had nine draft picks and they used those on team needs that were more pressing, but if they had more draft capital then they would’ve been in a good position to nab Wirtel during the tail end of the draft.

Julian Good-Jones: Philadelphia Eagles

A veteran linemen who is solid and has started against a good amount of high level competition is a solid pick for a team that needs depth at the tackle spot. Julian Good-Jones can do teams one better by sliding inside as he’s played on the interior and even played center as well.

Despite this, there were no takers for Good-Jones during the draft. His low stock wasn’t overlooked and his relatively pedestrian upside probably didn’t help.

There were some linemen that were rated lower than him by draft experts to get drafted, but those were raw talent guys while he was a more of a low ceiling, high floor pick that teams aren’t looking for as much in the later rounds.

Good-Jones found a home right after the draft ended as the Eagles scooped him up and gave him the chance to make it to Philadelphia’s 53-man roster.

Ray Lima: Miami Dolphins

Ray Lima was rated by Matt Miller from Bleacher Report and CBS Sports on their big boards of the best available defensive tackles, but he also didn’t hear his name called over the three-day draft process.

Lima is an old school nose tackle who stuffs the run on first and second down and exits on third — a job that’s losing importance due to the amount of passing that’s being done.

Lima did a solid job with Iowa State anchoring the defensive line and the Dolphins saw that and gave Lima the chance to prove himself by signing him as an undrafted free agent.

Josh Knipfel: Cincinnati Bengals

The second lineman to earn a look is Josh Knipfel, Iowa State’s right guard in the previous few seasons.

Knipfel was less of a versatile play like Good-Jones and more of a mechanical and talent play. Knipfel was Iowa State’s most effective linemen after transferring to the school.

He was sound as an interior lineman, but didn’t show anything at Iowa State on the exterior line except for short bursts in emergency situations.

Knipfel signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, giving him a chance to prove his worth and possibly block ahead of the No. 1 pick Joe Burrow.

Marcel Spears Jr.: Cincinnati Bengals

Rounding out Iowa State’s signees and joining his teammate Josh Knipfel in Cincinnati, Marcel Spears Jr. was also signed as an undrafted free agent Saturday.

Spears Jr. was the last remaining Iowa State player that was recruited by Paul Rhoads and the five year senior played a big role in the team’s defense throughout his four years as an outside linebacker.

Spears Jr. will be trying to bring those skills to the professional game with the Bengals.

Matt Leo: Philadelphia Eagles

After the first five dominoes fell, the Eagles went back to the Iowa State pool to sign the sixth player from Iowa State after NFL Draft had ended.

Matt Leo was acquired by the Eagles as part of the International Player Pathway Program. Leo came to Iowa State from Adelaide, Australia.

The defensive end played a backup role for Iowa State, but was seen as solid depth piece who was still learning the game as he played with the Cyclones.