Cyclones A.J. Klein, Carter Bykowski Drafted
AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein and offensive lineman Carter Bykowski were drafted by the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49er's respectively, in Saturday's NFL Draft. Cyclone linebacker Jake Knott has signed a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver Josh Lenz has signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears.
Klein, the 2011 Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year who finished his Cyclone career with 361 tackles and 20 tackles for loss, was drafted Saturday in the fifth round in New York, N.Y. Klein was the 15th player taken in the fifth round and the 148th overall.
"I am so excited," Klein said. "I had talked with Carolina back at the East-West Shrine Game and again with their scouts. I am so happy this is over and excited that I will get to play with some great defensive players at Carolina. It is a great organization."
Klein returned four interceptions for touchdowns in his career, tying the NCAA record for linebackers. He was a two-time first-team all-Big 12 Conference choice. The Kimberly, Wis. native played in 51 games as a Cyclone.
Bykowski, who started his Iowa State career as a tight end before moving into the offensive line, started 18 games of his Cyclone tenure. He was the 40th player selected in the seventh round and the 246th overall, by the NFC champs. Recognized by Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads for his perseverance, he played in 45 career games. The Eden Prarie, Minn. native started every game of the 2013 Liberty Bowl season at left tackle.
"I didn't think I would be drafted," Bykowski said. "I was fortunate to be in this position. I thought I might have some (free agent) choices and then the phone rang and I talked to (head coach) Jim Harbaugh and (offensive line coach) Mike Solari. It was a short conversation but they were very positive and I am looking forward to working in their system."
The last time two Iowa State players were drafted in the same year was 2008 when Alvin Bowen (5/147) and Ahtyba Rubin (6/190) were picked by Buffalo and Cleveland, respectively.
Knott had a lot of interest from across the league but settled on the Eagles. Despite playing in just eight games, Knott earned first-team All-Big 12 honors for the second straight season. The Waukee native finished his career with 347 tackles and an all-time Cyclone linebacker best eight interceptions.
" I have talked with their linebackers coach Rick Minter, head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman," Knott said. "I had to consider what would be a good opportunity for me with all the offers I had. I talked with my agent and after the recruiting process I felt best about the Eagles."
Lenz finished his Iowa State career with 104 receptions for 1,325 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Dubuque native also averaged 22.8 yards on 40 kickoff returns.
"I was hearing from teams all day," Lenz said. "After the seventh round was over it was a matter of deciding what was the best place for me. After talking with my agent I decided that I would head for Chicago."