INDIANAPOLIS – Less than 10 picks remained in the 2016 NFL Draft and it looked like Austin Blythe was going to have to make a decision.
As pick No. 253 approached, the one held by the Colts after they traded back with Green Bay during Friday's second round, Blythe was speaking to another team about coming in as an undrafted free agent.
Interrupting such a phone call must have meant something urgent was happening.
"I was on the phone with another team and then my wife gets a call and she says, 'Hey, you need to hang up the Colts are going to draft you now.' I didn't know how to react at first," Blythe said minutes after the Colts halted any free agency plans for the Iowa center.
Blythe was coming to a team that has had plenty of success with past Iowa Hawkeyes.
Dallas Clark. Bob Sanders. Pat Angerer.
All former Hawkeyes who coach Kirk Ferentz has sent to the NFL, and the Colts.
Current Colts offensive line coach Joe Philbin spent four seasons (1999-2002) with Ferentz at Iowa.
Philbin was back at Iowa for their Pro Day this spring and saw the type of lineman Ferentz is known for producing during his 17 seasons with the Hawkeyes.
"Joe Philbin really liked (Blythe) as a player, really liked him at the workout," Ryan Grigson said.
"One thing about Iowa offensive linemen, they always are so technically sound. They need very little coaching. They know how to step. Their footwork is always impeccable and they put themselves in positions to win on the offensive line. Those guys are always very sound football players. It's a credit to Kirk Ferentz. They do a great job and Joe Philbin goes way back with Kirk. You usually can't go wrong with an Iowa guy."
At Iowa, Blythe started 51 games (primarily at center, but also logging time at each guard spot).
Of Iowa's pantheon of wrestling excellence, Blythe's name is near the top of the list.
Blythe was a three-time heavyweight state champion in high school, recording pins a state-record 143 times. He was a state runner-up as a freshman.
That tenacity and athleticism has Blythe in position to compete for a backup center job with the Colts.
"Wrestling has helped me tremendously as a football player," the 6-3, 290-pound center says.
"I tried to carry the things I learned in wrestling into college and the pros. I look to bring that mentality to the pros."