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Draft Coverage

Meet the Prospect: Lukas Van Ness

Name: Lukas Van Ness

Position: Defensive line

School: Iowa

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 272

40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds

Bench: 17 reps

Vertical: 31 inches

Broad: 9-foot-10

3-cone: 7.02 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.32 seconds

View photos of NFL prospect Lukas Van Ness.

How he fits: Van Ness is a powerful pass rusher on the edge with some versatility to his game.

He did not start any contests in 2022 because of two seniors ahead of him, but still played starter reps and was a second-team All-Big Ten player leading the Hawkeyes with 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks in 13 games played.

He's got terrific size, strength and athleticism to play both on the edge and shift inside. He had 7.0 sacks from the interior in 2021. He ran sub-4.6 seconds in the 40 at the Combine, which speaks to his athleticism at his size. He needs to develop a bigger repertoire of pass-rush moves as he relied on the bull rush a lot in college, but that will come with NFL coaching.

Van Ness is one of the best run defenders of all the edge players in the class, earning an 80.9 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus this past year. That makes him a very intriguing player to put opposite Aidan Hutchinson in the Lions' defense. He is strong, athletic, durable and versatile, which makes him a scheme fit in Detroit. His best football is still in front of him.

Key observation: A willing and capable special teamer, Van Ness blocked two kicks last season.

What they had to say about him: "Coming off the bench at Iowa, Van Ness was primarily an edge rusher in defensive coordinator Phil Parker's four-man front, but he also saw significant snaps inside over the B-gap. The Iowa coaches reward seniority, so John Waggoner and Joe Evans started at defensive end last season, but Van Ness had more defensive snaps than either and led the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss and sacks.

Regardless of alignment, Van Ness has high-end tools with his length and play strength, which allow him to wear down blockers as a pass rusher or stack, locate and play off blocks in the run game. A hockey player most of his life, he credits his time on the ice for developing his balance, urgent play style and competitive toughness. Overall, Van Ness needs to be coached up with his pass-rush construction and overall pacing, but he is an ascending player and competes like a grizzly bear with his fierce power and explosive twitch. He has the upside of an impactful NFL starter with inside/outside versatility, regardless of scheme." – Dane Brugler, The Athletic

View photos of the top edge rusher prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

How he stacks up: ESPN's Todd McShay recently released his Top 100 prospects in the class and placed them in tiers. Van Ness came in as the No. 11 overall prospect in that ranking and a tier three prospect with a grade of 91 out of 100.

He came in at No. 14 on PFF's Big Board, No. 14 on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the Top 50 prospect in the class and No. 10 on Brugler's Big Board.

What he had to say: "At the University of Iowa, we played in like a really pro-style defense. They're really based on fundamentals, you know, playing the game the right way. You have a responsibility to execute your responsibility. And even when I came into the University of Iowa as a freshman, I resonated with the program just because of the foundation, the culture that they had. You come in with a blue collar, you work hard, nothing's given to you, everything's earned and there's a lot of (those) qualities (I) bring with me to the next level."

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