Two Cyclones selected during day three of the NFL Draft


Owen Aanestad

Xavier Hutchinson talks with media during pro day, Bergstrom Football Complex, Mar. 21, 2023.

Logan Shanks, Sports Reporter

Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson and defensive back Anthony Johnson Jr. became day three picks in the NFL Draft. Two other Cyclones also received calls after going undrafted.  

Hutchinson was drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Texans with the No. 205 overall pick. Hutchinson joins a team in the Texans that invested a lot offensively in the 2023 draft, selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud second overall and Houston wideout Nathaniel (Tank) Dell in the third round.

In his final year at Iowa State, Hutchinson led the team with 107 catches which was the third most in the NCAA, with Dell slightly ahead of him at second with 109 grabs. Hutchinson also led the team in receiving yards with 1,171 yards, the eighth most in the NCAA last season. He ended his three-year career at Iowa State with 2,929 yards and 15 touchdowns, while sitting at the top of Iowa State’s career reception leaderboard. 

Hutchinson was the 26th receiver taken off the board but was ranked by ESPN as the 18th best receiver entering the draft, so he slipped past the spot where he was expected to fall. Scouts noted his deep ball catching and run-after-catch ability as some of his best skills during his time at Iowa State. 

Johnson was drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 242 overall pick. Classified as a safety in his draft profile, Johnson played both corner and safety during his time with the Cyclones. His versatility on defense could help secure him a spot on an NFL roster. 

Johnson suited up for 62 games, starting 54 as a Cyclone in his five-year career, which was a Big 12 record. He totaled 243 tackles, 28 pass breakups and five forced fumbles. Last season, Johnson snatched the only two interceptions of his career and tied his season-high in tackles with 60. 

Edge rusher MJ Anderson signed with the Seattle Seahawks shortly after the draft as an undrafted free agent. Anderson transferred to Iowa State last season after spending two seasons at Minnesota. He recorded three and a half sacks last season and a career-high in tackles with 37.

Linebacker O’Rien Vance, who played five seasons with the Cyclones, received a rookie camp invite from the New York Giants. Vance was a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball during his time at Iowa State. In his final season with the Cyclones, he amassed a career-high in tackles for loss (10) and forced fumbles (3).