Four metro area hopefuls in NFL Draft

(Draft projections via

S Amani Hooker

Hometown: Brooklyn Park

College: Iowa

Age: 20

Draft projection: 3rd-4th round

Credentials: The reigning Tatum-Woodson Big Ten defensive back of the year, Hooker is set to become the latest Hawkeyes defensive back to be drafted by an NFL team. Hooker (5-11, 211 pounds) led Iowa with seven pass deflections, four interceptions and a sack last season.


OL Trey Pipkins

Hometown: Apple Valley

College: Sioux Falls

Age: 22

Draft projection: 4th round

Credentials: Built for the NFL, Pipkins (6-6, 309 pounds) was named a Division II All-America at left tackle last season for the Cougars. He’ll face a steep jump in competition, which makes him a developmental prospect, but his sheer size will intrigue an NFL team late in the draft.


LB Blake Cashman

Hometown: Eden Prairie

College: Minnesota

Age: 22

Draft projection: 5th-6th round

Credentials: The former Gophers walk-on linebacker named third-team All-Big Ten last season likely will find himself on an NFL roster this week. Cashman (6-1, 237 pounds) ranked top-five among linebackers in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle at the draft combine.


LB Ryan Connelly

Hometown: Eden Prairie

College: Wisconsin

Age: 23

Draft projection: 6th round

Credentials: Connelly, Cashman’s former teammate at Eden Prairie, had a productive five-year career at Wisconsin, where he climbed up the ranks to start at inside linebacker. Connelly (6-2, 242 pounds) was named third-team All-Big Ten while playing through a core injury last season.