Fant’s teammate TJ Hockenson is a much more surprising inclusion this list of combine invites if you were to predict the invites prior to the 2018 Iowa football season. Hockenson, however, turned in one of the greatest single seasons for a tight end in Iowa football history and was named All-American in addition to winning the John Mackey Award. This led to the difficult decision for him to declare for the NFL, and based off current mock drafts, he made the right decision.
He was mocked to the Patriots in the first round in Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s latest mock draft, and he was recently listed as the #4 overall prospect on The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard’s big board.
Hockenson’s situation heading into the NFL Combine is honestly the complete opposite of Fant’s. Nobody is expecting Hockenson to run a blazing-fast 40-yard dash or knock out the most reps on the bench press or jump the highest. Draft scouts absolutely love his tape though because he is a fantastic route runner, tenacious blocker, and has great hands in addition to his “sneaky” athleticism. For the record, it’s not to say that Fant is not already capable of doing the above, it’s just that these two players are projected to go high for different reasons.
That means heading into the combine, as long as Hockenson doesn’t walk the 40-yard dash and finish in the bottom half of the tight ends in athletic testing, his draft stock should remain high. If, however, he does perform better than expected, that will just cement his draft stock and possibly put him in the top half of the first round.
Both Fant and Hockenson will test on Saturday, March 2nd.