With the 32nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots did not select Hakeem Butler, wide receiver, Iowa State. Nor did the Patriots — or any other team with the prior 31 picks — select David Montgomery or, obviously, any other Iowa State player, the 46th straight year a former Cyclone wasn't drafted in the first round. When will the Power Five's longest first-round draft drought end?
Butler and Montgomery, both of whom received a smidgen of pre-draft first-round buzz, were chosen in the fourth and third rounds, respectively, Iowa State's first two draft picks since 2014. However, the program has the Power Five's longest drought and fewest all-time first-round picks (one), both by massive margins (Indiana has the next longest streak at 25 years, while Rutgers' five picks are next lowest).
As of now, Iowa State doesn't have a clear upper-tier prospect for 2020, though the Cyclones have a player who could enter that discussion with a strong 2019: Redshirt sophomore tight end Charlie Kolar.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder is a former 2017 three-star recruit from Norman, Okla., who accepted one of his two total Power Five offers (Oklahoma State). After redshirting in 2017, he had 11 receptions and three touchdowns in 13 games last year, earning All-Big 12 Second-Team honors from the coaches.
There's a ways to go before Kolar enters the 2020 (or 2021) draft discussion, let alone first-round discussion, but the physical tools are there. He carries 250 pounds well, gets off the line of scrimmage, creates separation (though needs a little more second-level quickness and twitch), has soft hands, wins contested balls and improved dramatically as a blocker.
"That’s probably the part that surprised me more than even anything he’s doing in the passing game,” Iowa State tight ends coach Alex Golesh told the Ames Tribune last October, “just how much he’s continuing to improve his level of toughness and his consistency blocking.”
Kolar earned more opportunities last year as starter Chase Allen missed five games with (more) injuries. And while the stats were pedestrian and he's still battling for snaps in a crowded tight end rotation, Charlie Kolar could enter the NFL discussion with another strong year.
First-round prospect? Right now, that's a leap, but Charlie Kolar is the Cyclones' best near-future chance to end their drought.
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