Former Hawkeye tight end Noah Fant was projected to be a first-round NFL Draft pick. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
The NFL Draft's "green room" will be sporting multiple splashes of black and gold in a couple of weeks.
University of Iowa football tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant will both be in attendance for this month's draft in Nashville from April 25-27.
The news is little surprise, really, given that both tight ends have been projected as upper first-round talents for weeks. Hockenson, the reigning Mackey Award winner as the nation's top collegiate tight end, has been holding steady in the top 10 and may not last past Detroit's No. 8 overall selection.
The NFL Network made its announcement on draft attendees Tuesday afternoon. Usually, the league selects players they perceive to be virtual locks for selection early in the draft process.
Hockenson led the Hawkeyes last season with 760 yards on 49 receptions with seven total touchdowns (six receiving) as a sophomore. The Chariton native averaged 15.5 yards per grab.
Fant, from Omaha, had 39 catches for 519 yards and a team-high seven receiving scores as a junior. His 19 career touchdowns is an Iowa tight end record.
Both appear poised to add to Iowa's recent run of first-round presence on draft night. Under Kirk Ferentz, Iowa has had four first-round selections in the past nine seasons. A total of 66 players have been drafted in the Ferentz era, including three last season (Josh Jackson, James Daniels, Josey Jewell).
Iowa has had at least one player selected in each NFL Draft since 1978, a run of 41 years that is tied for the seventh-best among college programs.
As for Fant and Hockenson's fates, the teammates will see who gets chosen when at a couple different tables — but only because they'll need to make room.
“I don’t know if that’d work,” Fant said of a possible economical table plan. “He’ll have his family. I’ll have mine. If we both end up there, we’ll both be happy for each other.”
Former Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson has been discussed as a possible top-10 pick in the NFL Draft. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central