Former Iowa tight ends could be on Bills' radar

Chad Leistikow from the Des Moines Register shares some insight on T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant

Jon Simon
April 19, 2019 - 9:31 pm

Photo: Jeffrey Becker - USA TODAY Sports

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The start of the 2019 NFL Draft is less than a week away, but it appears there are still a number of different ways the Buffalo Bills could go with their ninth overall pick. One position that needs to be addressed is tight end. Thankfully for the Bills, the 2019 draft class has a strong group in that department. 

Former Iowa Hawkeyes tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are two names that sit atop the tight end prospect rankings; and both have been connected to the Bills. Both players have first-round potential and could make history on Thursday, April 25 as the first tight ends from the same school to be selected in the first round of the same draft. 

Last month, Chad Leistikow from the Des Moines Register joined Howard and Jeremy on WGR to share some insight on the pair of 21-year-olds. Many of Leistikow's comments mirrored the national hype surrounding Hockenson and Fant.

"He's really an all-around, full-service tight end," Leistikow said about Hockenson. "He played every single down, barring a couple. He's a physical blocker. He had the best hands on the team with surprising speed and also just a real high level of character. All around, with all that stuff, I think that's why you're seeing him really high in mock drafts and really high on draft boards."

Hockenson is the No. 1 overall ranked tight end in the 2019 class and has drawn comparisons to a fellow former Iowa tight end George Kittle, who had a breakout season with the San Francisco 49ers last year. Fant is about the same size as Hockenson, but missed some time in big games this past season. However, he still ranks among the top three to five tight ends in this year's class and could make a huge impact in the passing game.

"He's almost like a wide receiver," Leistikow said of Fant. "At 6-foot-4, 249 pounds, he runs like one. He was actually one of the fastest players on the team; and that includes the receivers. You saw at the combine he ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. His measurables are off the charts in terms of vertical jump. He jumped 42 inches at Iowa and 39 at the combine, but that was a school record at the time for tight ends and it probably always will be."

Should the Bills draft either Hockenson or Fant, they'll be getting an extremely gifted player who can immediately make a difference in the offense. 

The 2019 NFL Draft starts Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. and will be carried on WGR 550 with full coverage.

You can listen to the full interview with Leistikow below:

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