Throughout the pre-draft process, Iowa’s Micah Hyde expressed a willingness to play wherever he needed.
Saturday, his versatility was rewarded.
The only Hawkeye selected in the 2013 NFL draft was chosen by Green Bay with the first of its two fifth-round picks, giving Iowa at least one NFL Draft pick in each of the past 36 years.
“They like players who can fill multiple spots and I have experience with that,’’ said Hyde, who played both cornerback and safety during his collegiate career. “They told me I will probably have a chance on special teams, too, and I’m good with that. Whatever I can do, I’m willing to do it.’’
The selection of Hyde, who watched the draft from his family’s home in Fostoria, Ohio, was cheered by teammates when it was announced at halftime of Iowa’s spring scrimmage.
He joined two Iowa State players and three from Illinois in receiving calls from NFL teams on the final day of the three-day draft.
Cyclones linebacker A.J. Klein and offensive lineman Carter Bykowski were picked in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively, by Carolina and San Francisco to give ISU two draft picks in the same year for the first time since 2008.
Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence was taken in the fourth round by Tampa Bay, while defensive back Terry Hawthorne went to Pittsburgh in the fifth round and defensive end Michael Buchanan was a seventh-round choice of New England.
Combined with Friday’s third-round selection of offensive lineman Hugh Thornton, the Illini had more players drafted than any Big Ten program.
Klein, who shared Big 12 defensive player of the year honors, said he spoke with Carolina officials while participating in the East-West Shrine Game.
“I’m excited that I will get to play with some great defensive players,’’ he said. “It is a great organization.’’
Bykowski, who grew from a tight end to a left tackle during his career at Iowa State, said the selection caught him by surprise.
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“I didn’t think I would be drafted,’’ he said. “I was fortunate to be in this position. I thought I might have some (free agent) choices, but then the phone rang and I talked to (coach) Jim Harbaugh and (offensive line coach) Mike Solari.’’
In Green Bay, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt talked about what the Packers liked about Hyde, who recorded 240 tackles during his Iowa career and was selected as the Big Ten defensive back of the year.
“He can play corner, he can play nickel, dime. That’s where a lot of his value is at. We’re going to bring him in and see what he can do,’’ Whitt told Packers.com. “… He doesn’t let balls get over his head. He understands football. I like bringing guys in that have a football IQ.’’
The selection reunites Hyde with former Hawkeyes defensive lineman Mike Daniels and offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga.
“I feel good about where I ended up,’’ Hyde said. “When the call came, I was pretty excited.’’
So was Spence, the eighth Illini player in the past six years to enter the draft early. Mostly, he liked the selection by a team from his home state of Florida.
“When I got the phone call from coach (Greg) Schiano and he said they were trading up to take me, I screamed and jumped around like a kid,’’ Spence said. “It’ll be a thrill to play at the next level in my home state just a couple of hours away from my friends and family.’’