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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Former Hawkeye LB Ben Niemann signs with the Detroit Lions

By meerna Jun11,2024

DES MOINES, Iowa– Detroit continues to be a hot spot for former Hawkeyes. The Detroit Lions announced on Monday that they have added former Iowa State linebacker Ben Niemann to their roster. Niemann has played in 86 games in his six-year career, including 21 starts, and in 2022 he made a career-high 70 tackles for the Arizona Cardinals.

Niemann was another of Iowa’s underrated players to make it to the NFL. As a senior, he was named All-Big Ten honorable mention after making 80 tackles (six for loss), a sack, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles. For his career, Niemann has totaled 201 tackles, 17 for loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

After going undrafted in 2018, Niemann signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and immediately made an impact as a rookie. According to Pro Football Focus, Niemann was the highest-graded special teams player (kick return, punt return, kickoff blocked, punt blocked, field goal blocked) in the NFL without a missed tackle with a grade of 86.2. Niemann played 307 of those snaps and at least 30 on all five.

“Beating Niemann was true” – defender Reggie Ragland told KansasCity.com at the beginning of his rookie season. “I love Ben. He’s one of those guys from Iowa who’s really smart. My position coach (Mark DeLeone) is from Iowa. My defender next to me, Hitch, is from Iowa. I think it’s a matter of what’s happening to them in Iowa. “

Ever since Dan Campbell was hired by the Lions, the team has been falling in love with Hawkeye players. During the previous NFL Draft, Campbell selected Iowa State linebacker Jack Campbell and tight end Sam LaPorta as members of a formidable 2023 squad, and both are poised to take big steps forward during their sophomore seasons.

Campbell is a guy who values ​​toughness and fundamentals above all else, so Niemann could probably be a great fit for the Lions. Detroit does return most of its off-ball linebackers to this year’s roster, but that’s not why the Lions signed him.

Niemann is a guy who doesn’t mind at all that he’s not a defensive star. Throughout his NFL career, he has proven to be an intelligent and capable special teams player, and that is something that many NFL coaches value.

It all starts with Iowa State and how players have really become comfortable playing on special teams. It’s not always the sexiest aspect of the game and rarely makes headlines, but the culture at Iowa State prioritizes effective special teams play. Special teams coordinator LeVar Woods played a huge role in this.

“LeVar has really grown into the role, really gotten into it,” Iowa State head coach Kirk Ferentz previously said. “That’s how he made a living in the NFL, being a good special teams player. Thanks to this, he can fully appreciate its value.”

Niemann will have a hill to climb in Detroit, but Campbell is the type of coach who will give Niemann a chance to succeed.

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By meerna

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