Mike Daniels is prepared to be poked, prodded and pushed physically and mentally during the upcoming week.
The Iowa defensive tackle is among seven Hawkeyes scheduled to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine that begins Wednesday and continues through Feb. 28 in Indianapolis, where the future of potential 2012 draft picks will be measured from a number of dimensions.
"It's the next step, something you work toward and the start of a new phase in the career," Daniels said.
For seniors on the Iowa team looking to start that new phase, workouts have continued since the Hawkeyes' 7-6 season ended with a loss to Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl.
Offensive guard Adam Gettis has prepared in Arizona, where he said training has gone well over the past month.
"I'm fine-tuning the things that I will be tested on and I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in," Gettis said. "I'm as ready as I can be."
Gettis is one of three Iowa offensive linemen who will be participating in the annual cattle call at Lucas Oil Stadium.
While tackle Riley Reiff has garnered most of the attention, listed among top-10 potential draft picks by analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Mayock, Gettis and offensive tackle Markus Zusevics also were among the 300 invited participants.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz considers all three to be likely selections when the NFL begins its three-day draft April 26, praising the role Hawkeyes line coach Reese Morgan played in their development.
"He'll get guys like Zusevics and Gettis who come in here as 225-pound kids out of high school, and develop them. Look at Riley Reiff, who came in here as a defensive end and ended up transitioning over to offense,'' Ferentz said. "It sounds like Riley is going to be a high draft pick and Marcus and Adam are going to get drafted, too. You can go down the line, but that is a pretty good snapshot of the kind of work that Reese does.''
Gettis views the combine as the first of several opportunities.
"I see this as a chance to help myself,'' Gettis said. "It's all good. I'm going to Indy with a positive frame of mind, ready to go and show what I can do and how I can help a team at the next level.''
Daniels shares that same mentality.
At 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, some draft analysts view him as undersized for a tackle in the NFL, although some are intrigued by the length of his arms.
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"I feel like I have something to prove,'' Daniels said. "But, it's nothing new. People told me before I went to Iowa that I wouldn't be able to play in the Big Ten, that I was too short. I think I've shown that I can play the game and that's going to continue to be my approach. I'll do what I can to answer the critics and put myself in the best possible position.''
Daniels said he talked to former teammates about what to expect in the process.
"This is a starting point of sorts. There will be other pro days and that type of thing that will come later, but this is where it begins and it's an important first test,'' Daniels said. "If things go well, it can set the tone for everything that follows.''
And as Gettis puts it, "There are no secrets. It will all be out there for everybody to see.''
For the first time, the NFL is allowing a group of 250 fans to attend a Feb. 26 session of the combine when quarterbacks and wide receivers will be tested. Testing throughout the week will be aired on the NFL Network.
"Everything gets pretty well dissected, but it is all part of the process,'' Daniels said. "I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads me.''