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Post by hongwei28 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:02 am

NASHVILLE Womens Y.A. Tittle Jersey , Tenn. (AP) — Talk about a culture change.Not long ago, drafting a tight end in the first round was taboo for NFL teams. On Thursday night, two might go very high — and they come from the same school.T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant of Iowa are projected to go early, and it’s not just because they are versatile, talented players. Or that the Hawkeyes have turned into a college mecca for the position: 10 of them in the pros since 2000, including Dallas Clark, who helped the Colts win a Super Bowl, and George Kittle, who set records for the position with the 49ers last year.With the emphasis on more passing and a shift toward more open offenses, the tight end spot has become a critical component of NFL attacks. Every team is eager to find the next Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz. And colleges are putting more emphasis on using the tight end as a weapon, not as a glorified tackle.“The tight end is the eraser for the quarterback,” Fant said Wednesday as 21 potential first-rounders spoke at Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans and within a short walk across a bridge over the Cumberland River to where the draft will occur. “That’s where being a dynamic tight end comes into play.”Added Hockenson: “It’s become a valued position. A three-down tight end who can run past defenders when needed and block when needed is special.”So, apparently, are these two. Hockenson has been rated on some draft prognostications as one of the top 10 prospects in this crop. Fant hasn’t been far behind.Neither likely will go in the top half-dozen selections, which figure to be dominated by defensive players such as Nick Bosa of Ohio State, Quinnen Williams of Alabama, Josh Allen of Kentucky and Devin White of LSU. Both are expected to be gone in the top 20 or so.That would be a rare occurrence. Since the NFL went to 32 teams in 2002 when the Texans joined the league, a pair of tight ends has not gone in the first 20. Indeed, only three were drafted higher than 19th: Kellen Winslow Jr. (2004, sixth); Vernon Davis (2006, sixth); and Eric Ebron (2014 Mike McGlinchey Jersey White , 10th).But pro teams have changed their tunes most recently. Two years ago, three tight ends were taken in the opening round: O.J. Howard by Tampa at 19, Evan Engram by the Giants at 23 and David Njoku at 29 by Cleveland.Now come Hockenson and Fant, who say they have no clue where they will land.“I just feel we’re ready,” Hockenson said. “This entire process has been flattering and it has been cool to learn how people see the game differently. But as for where, don’t know.”Fant also shrugged when asked where he might wind up, though when the subject of replacing Gronk in New England was broached, he said: “Playing at New England, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.”Fant, who came into the 2018 college season as the higher-rated prospect — and still might be with many teams — believes he benefited from playing with another standout tight end. He certainly showed a knack for the end zone with 19 career touchdowns.Hockenson was no slouch, of course, and had nine TDs. He also handled more of the blocking role for the Hawkeyes than did Fant, though many NFL personnel people believe both will be versatile and reliable at either chore.Both became tight ends in middle school and took to the position quickly. Hockenson grew up in Chariton, Iowa, while Fant is from Omaha, Nebraska. When they got to Iowa City, they were behind Kittle, then each of them excelled when Kittle headed to the 49ers.Kittle has told them to “block out all the noise” and just be themselves during the draft process — and when they arrive in the NFL. Both would do exceptionally well to emulate Kittle’s numbers with the Niners: 88 receptions, 1,377 yards and five TDs last season, playing mostly with backup passers.“What George did (at Iowa) was pretty special,” Fant said. “George has taken it to another level in the NFL. He made for big shoes to fill.”Perhaps. But remember Dwight Clark Jersey White , Kittle was a fifth-round selection in the 2017 draft. By that round this weekend, Hockenson and Fant likely will be ensconced in their new city, learning the playbook.NOTES: Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, considered likely to go to Arizona as the top overall pick, didn’t attend the morning availability. He notified the NFL on Tuesday that he had a family commitment that would prevent him from being at Nissan Stadium … Sooners WR Marquis Brown said of Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner: “He can seem like a quiet guy to people that don’t know him. He’s not just open to everyone. But when you know him and you’re on a team with him, you’re going to know him. Like he’s funny guy and he’s undoubtedly a leader; he leads by example, works hard in the weight room, on the field. He does everything for you not to question anything about him.” Can this be the No. 1 wide receiver they want?"The San Francisco 49ers have finally addressed the wide receiver position and selected South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel with their second round pick (36th overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft. Kyle Shanahan and his staff got an extended look at Samuel during the 2019 Senior Bowl, a game that made him one of the top wide receivers in this draft. He’s not the tallest, coming in at 5 feet, 11 inches and 215 pounds, but he is very fast and with that speed he can get some separation in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. He also holds the SEC kick return touchdown record with four.He does come with some minor injury concerns, having a fractured fibula in 2017 and working through a hamstring injury in 2016. His college career finished with 2076 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. The 49ers wide receivers may be underrated, but the production was not close to what they would want if they were to get in the championship hunt. They decided to not pick up Pierre Garçon’s 2019 option and also signed Jordan Matthews in free agency. Dante Pettis is hitting his second season and Kendrick Bourne could be on the chopping block going into his third year. Can this be the final piece to the wide receiver puzzle? We’ll find out as the season goes on. Highlights:Draft Profiles: SB Nation’s Stephen WhiteCBS SportsNFL.comKyle also broke down Deebo49ers draft picks1. First round: No. 2 overall Nick Bosa, Edge rusher, Ohio State2. Second round: No. 4 (36 overall) Deebo Samuel, Wide receiver, South Carolina3. Third round: No. 3 (67 overall)4. Fourth round: No. 2 (104 overall)5. Sixth round: No. 3 (176 overall)6. Sixth round: No. 30 (212 overall)