Draft expert offers insight on Lanning and Lazard


Allen Lazard makes a diving catch for a first down during the first quarter of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

Jack Macdonald

Following Iowa State’s AutoZone Liberty Bowl win, wide receiver Allen Lazard and linebacker/quarterback Joel Lanning quickly moved onto their next goal. 

That goal? The 2018 NFL Draft. 

And on Thursday, Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN’s NFL draft expert, offered his thoughts on where he envisions the two to go when the draft starts on April 26.

Of the two, Lazard is the one most likely to get drafted. The Urbandale native finished his Iowa State career as one of the best receivers the Cyclones have had to date. He finished his career with a school-record 241 receptions and 3,360 receiving yards. Lazard also had a reception in all 48 games he played. 

“Lazard’s a big body, tall receiver, jump-ball situations, the fade route,” Kiper Jr. said Thursday according to the Des Moines Register. “He can go up and get it. He doesn’t get a lot of separation. That’s the thing, I think quickness and burst out of his break is something he’ll need to work on because in the NFL, cornerbacks are in your hip pocket more than they are in college and he had trouble I think getting that great separation on a consistent basis.”

While Kiper Jr. sees Lazard as a late-round pick, Lanning is in a different situation. 

Lanning made the switch from quarterback to linebacker following the 2016 season and appeared to do it with ease. The Ankeny native, after a four-year career at quarterback, finished his redshirt senior season averaging 8.8 tackles per game and was third on the team in tackles for loss with 11.

Lanning also was second on the team with six sacks. To top it off, Lanning added a fumble recovery, interception, passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns to his resume. 

“Lanning’s interesting because … quarterback turned linebacker, that doesn’t happen very often,” Kiper Jr. said. “You talk about what Matt Campbell had to say about him, he was revered out there in Ames.”

Kiper Jr. went on to say he wouldn’t be surprised if a team drafted Lanning late on day three. He sees Lanning as a guy that could help a team on its specials teams unit or even fill in at quarterback if someone gets injured. 

Bottom line: Iowa State has a legitimate chance to have two players drafted. The Cyclones haven’t had a player drafted since 2014 when linebacker Jeremiah George was taken in the fifth round.