The 2019 NFL Draft is less than a month away, and Bleacher Reports Matt Miller projects three Iowa football players to be drafted in the first two days.
With Pro Days all but complete and private workouts taking place as we speak, the landscape of the 2019 NFL Draft is beginning to really take shape. Just last Monday, in the midst of all the 2019 NCAA Tournament excitement for both the men’s and women’s team, the Iowa football team held their 2019 Pro Day where attendance was fantastic as all 32 teams were represented (one came early).
A few players such as Iowa’s Nick Easley noted that he had a private workout lined up with the Bills while others kept their cards close to their chest. And let’s be honest here, there is so much bluffing and smoke screens going on, it’s hard to know exactly what any team is thinking at this point. If there was one guy in the NFL Draft industry, however, that is relatively in the know, it’s Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, and last week he released a three-round mock draft which happened to include three former Iowa football players.
The first off the board for Miller is TJ Hockenson who has seen his stock rise throughout the draft process. Since Miller’s last mock draft where Hockenson was projected to go at the very end of round one, he has risen 12 spots to pick 18 with the Tennessee Titans, where he would provide a valuable weapon for struggling young quarterback Marcus Mariota. This seems about the right range for Hockenson, but I’ve seen him be mocked as early as 8 to the Detroit Lions and as late as 32 to the New England Patriots.
In a class limited with top-end wide receiver talent, and with pass-catching tight ends all the rage these days, this would be a great spot for Hockenson who can stop right in and replace Delanie Walker.
Hockenson’s running mate at tight end, Noah Fant, has also seen his stock rise after an incredible performance at the 2019 NFL Combine where the 6’5” 241-pound junior tight end showed elite athleticism. It is now looking like Fant may hear his name called in the latter half of the first round and this most recent mock draft has Fant heading to Oakland to play for Jon Gruden. Considering Derek Carr is pretty keen on keeping the ball short, this could be an ideal place for Fant to rack up the catches in the early part of his career.
The only other Iowa football player on the list of players drafted in Miller’s mock draft is safety Amani Hooker who is predicted to go to the Chicago Bears at pick 87. Personally, I feel like this is a little low for the standout safety for the Iowa football team. Any concerns about his overall athleticism were quieted when he turned in a sub-4.5 4o-yard dash and as teams watch his tape, they will see the instincts that this kid brings to the table on every play.
One player you all might be wondering about is Anthony Nelson, but not seeing his name called in the first two days isn’t to be unexpected. Although an outstanding defensive end with the Iowa football team, this draft is stacked with edge talent meaning a player like Nelson may fall down the board a bit despite posting solid numbers for his size and height.
With the 2019 NFL Draft just a few weeks away, we are likely to see quite a few more mock drafts pop up that we can analyze including a few of our own that we will be creating using The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
For now, though, we will be playing the waiting game as the NFL continues to evaluate the immense amount of talent that is departing the Iowa football program.