Following Iowa’s Pro Day last month, Chauncey Golston joked that representatives from NFL teams kept asking him if he was perfect.
"They said they couldn’t find anybody to say anything bad about me, that there wasn’t any dirt to find," Golston said.
That reputation, the willingness he displayed to be team-first player when he moved from defensive end to tackle at the Senior Bowl and the steady growth he showed during his career in a Hawkeye uniform led the Dallas Cowboys to make Golston the first Iowa player selected in the NFL Draft.
Dallas, which took defensive players with its first four draft choices, selected Golston with the 21st pick of the third round. He was the 84th choice overall in the NFL’s three-day, seven-round draft and the only Hawkeye taken in the draft's first three rounds.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Detroit native saw his stock rise throughout the pre-draft process, making him the third Hawkeye defensive end in as many years to be selected in the draft.
Golston follows 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa and 2019 fourth-round choice Anthony Nelson.
He is the first Iowa player to be chosen by Dallas since linebacker Anthony Hitchens was taken by the Cowboys in the fourth round in 2014.
Golston landed his opportunity after the most dominant season of his college career, earning first-team all-Big Ten honors after finishing with 45 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks during Iowa’s shortened 6-2 season.
His tackle total matched teammate Daviyon Nixon for the most among defensive linemen in the Big Ten this season. He also intercepted one pass, forced one fumble, broke up one pass and recorded three quarterback pressures.
As a junior in 2019, Golston led the conference and ranked sixth nationally with three fumble recoveries.
With the selection of Golston, the Hawkeyes have now had at least one player chosen in each of the last 44 years.
Three selections after Golston was taken, the Pittsburgh Steelers used the 24th pick of the third round to select Illinois guard Kendrick Green.
Northern Iowa offensive lineman Spencer Brown was the 30th pick in the third round, taken by the Buffalo Bills with the 93rd overall pick.
The 87th overall choice in the draft blended athleticism with an aggressive mentality that NFL teams like from a player who could see early playing time with Pittsburgh as either a guard or center.
A Peoria High graduate, the 6-5, 315-pound Green saw action at both guard and center for the Fighting Illini last season, making three starts at center when Doug Kramer was out with an injury.
A consensus first-team all-Big Ten selection, Green started the final 33 games of his collegiate career and became the first Illinois offensive lineman to earn All-American recognition since Jon Asamoah in 2009 when he received second-team honors from USA Today.
Green is the first Fighting Illini offensive lineman chosen in the draft since the Chiefs selected Nick Allegretti in 2019 in the seventh round. He is the first Illinois player taken by Pittsburgh since cornerback Terry Hawthorne was picked in the fifth round in 2013.
Brown, a 6-8, 314-pound tackle who played eight-man football as a prep in his hometown of Lenox, Iowa, is the first UNI player selected in the draft since the Colts took wide receiver Daurice Fountain in the fifth round in 2018.
A second-team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference choice in 2019 who opted out of the conference’s delayed 2020 season, Brown is the highest draft pick from Northern Iowa since running back David Johnson was taken with the 86th overall pick in the 2015 draft by Arizona.