Playing in the National Football League. It's what they've dreamed of since probably before any of them ever stepped field on a real football field for a game that counted for something more than pride. A number of players from Iowa, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa hope to hear their names called in this year's three-day draft that begins Thursday night.

Most of the names of Hawkeyes, Cyclones, and Panthers that appear on NFL draft lists this year are former Hawks. That's been pretty common during the Kirk Ferentz era in Iowa City. Ferentz has been the Hawkeye head coach since the 1999 season. During his time at Iowa, 75 Hawkeyes have been chosen in the NFL Draft, including 10 first-round and 10 second-round selections.

Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon is the top player in Iowa on Sporting News' Top 100 players list. The 6-3 305-pounder is ranked at #74. Below we look at collegiate players from Iowa that hope to get drafted over the three days of the draft.

This 2021 NFL Draft will air Thursday, April 29 from 7 p.m. to approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday coverage begins at 6 p.m., with the final four rounds on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. You'll be able to watch it all on ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network.

Good luck to all these guys the next three days as they try to begin the career they've always dreamed up in football's most famous league.

Iowa, Iowa State, & UNI Players That Could Get Selected in 2021 NFL Draft