NFL mock draft projections for Hawkeye football

Iowa's tight-end duo of Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson has drawn rave reviews across the NFL.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa tight end Noah Fant dives for a touchdown during Iowa's game against Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 63-0.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

There’s plenty of time before the NFL Draft, as the April 25 start day is months away. However, with bowl season in full swing, all eyes are on college football, and speculation runs wild.

Iowa tight end Noah Fant declared for the NFL Draft early, and he’s not participating in the Hawkeyes’ battle with No. 18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl. Most mock drafts had Fant being taken in the latter half of the first round, with one seeing Fant go off the board in the second round.

Meanwhile, T.J. Hockenson didn’t appear in many mock drafts, as his decision to either return for or forgo his remaining two seasons of eligibility are up in the air. He did, though, make an appearance on SB Nation’s latest mock draft.

Noah Fant’s projections

WalterFootball — pick No. 46 (Green Bay Packers)

“Here’s another weapon for Aaron Rodgers. Jimmy Graham had some nice moments in 2018, but he’s obviously not a long-term solution at tight end. Noah Fant is an athletic marvel, notching a 41-inch vertical in spring testing. He needs to improve his blocking, but his receiving ability should allow him to be a first- or second-round pick.”

CBS Sports — pick No. 27 (Oakland Raiders)

“Before you lose your mind consider this: Jared Cook and Fant regularly running through unsuspecting defenses as Derek Carr returns to his MVP form of 2016. A deep threat would also make sense here, given that Jon Gruden shipped Amari Cooper out of town, but keep an eye on Fant, the draft’s most athletic tight end, especially if the Raiders can’t re-sign Cook, who is in the final year of his deal.” – CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson

NESN — pick No. 27 (New England Patriots)

“With no heir apparent to Tom Brady on the board, Bill Belichick replaces an aging Rob Gronkowski with Fant, a three-down tight end who will be a legit weapon for Brady or whoever is under center in Foxboro.” – NESN’s Joshua Schrock

Sports Illustrated — pick No. 27 (Oakland Raiders)

“The Raiders have a handful of first round picks and this one, from the Khalil Mack trade, gets Derek Carr an offensive weapon. Fant’s talent is hard to deny, and as a receiver it really is all there — if it was just about that, he’d be a slam-dunk first-round pick. But he clashed some with coaches, and hasn’t always been the most enthusiastic blocker.” – Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler

T.J. Hockenson’s projection

Hockenson appeared on just one major mock draft, but his appearance came in the first round.

SB Nation — pick No. 32 (Green Bay Packers)

“Different week, a different tight end option for the Packers. It will be intriguing to double dip on pass rushers, but Hockenson could become Aaron Rodgers’ go-to target in the short and middle game.” – SB Nation’s Dan Kadar

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